Diocese of Lille - France
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This title provokes several questions. Why speak about confirmation? What do we understand by: “confirmation of the choice”? How to recognize it in the life of young people? Can we say that a choice is definitive? Or from what moment can we say it? Our elucidation of the title will be based on these questions.
What is at stake here in the confirmation of the choice
Ignatius, once the election is made, invites the retreatant to offer it to the Lord:
“After such a choice or decision, the one who has made it must turn with great diligence to prayer in the presence of God our Lord, and offer to Him this choice that the Divine Majesty may deign to accept and confirm it if it is for His greater service and praise.” (SpEx 183)
Why does Ignatius attach such importance to the confirmation of the choice? Michel de Certeau, in an article in Christus, clarifies what is at stake in the confirmation after the election 1.
"Everything has been done, since the election has been made. But everything remains to be done, since nothing has been executed. The decision taken today has bearing on the morrow; it anticipates a future that as yet does not exist. After the prayer which developed into the election and after the consent given to the interior call, one must now cross the threshold of silence and confront the daily circumstances of one’s life to fulfill the commitment. Once the promised land has been marked out, one must now take possession of it. It is only then that the reality of the promise and the value of the decision will be apparent" .2
Michel de Certeau shows that a long road ahead begins in which the decision will come up against obstacles and doubts that will assail it; these are temptations. But the decision will reveal an affinity to the world through signs. The word understood in the heart becomes flesh in the concrete, and is written in deeds: these are the signs. We can be sure that God gives us the means to fulfill the promise. God will just as surely respond to our story and to the movements that God has inspired. "The present confirms the past," writes Marie-Luce Brun 3. The confirmation bears on the fulfillment and not on new desires or new lights.