There are 7 Sacraments in the Catholic Church as instituted by Christ himself. Out of these 7, 3 are properly called the Sacraments of Initiation. Today, we shall discuss the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is one of the 3 sacraments of Christian initiation; the other 2 being Baptism, which we have discussed exhaustively in previous weeks, and the Eucharist. (Cf. CCC 1275)
SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION
Just as bodies and minds grow, Catholics believe that the soul also needs to grow in the life of grace. The sacrament of Confirmation strengthens the grace we received at Baptism, and together with the Eucharist or Holy Communion, completes the process of initiation into the Catholic community. (Note: In certain pastoral circumstances, the 3 Sacraments may be received on the same day)
What is the Catholic Sacrament of Confirmation?
Confirmation, a sacrament of initiation, establishes young adults as full-fledged members of the faith. This sacrament is called Confirmation because the faith given in Baptism is now confirmed and made strong. During your Baptism, your parents and godparents assist you to make promises to renounce Satan and believe in God and the Church. At Confirmation, however, you renew those same promises, this time speaking for yourself.
During Confirmation, the focus is on the Holy Spirit, who confirmed the apostles on Pentecost and gave them courage to practice their faith. Catholics believe that the same Holy Spirit confirms Catholics during the Sacrament of Confirmation and gives them the same gifts.
Traditionally, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude (Courage), Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord. These gifts are supernatural graces given to the soul. The 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit are Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Benignity, Goodness, Long-suffering, Mildness, Faith, Modesty, Continency, and Chastity — human qualities that can be activated by the Holy Spirit.
How is a Person Confirmed?
The Confirmation ceremony may take place at Mass or outside of Mass, and the bishop usually wears red vestments to symbolize the red tongues of fire seen hovering over the heads of the apostles at Pentecost. Each candidate to be confirmed comes forward with his or her sponsor, who may or may not be the godparent chosen for Baptism.
When you are confirmed, you get to choose a Confirmation name to add to your first and middle names — or you can just use the name given to you at Baptism. However, your new name must be a Christian name such as one of the canonized saints or a hero from the Bible.
Here is what happens at the actual ritual of Confirmation:
~You stand or kneel before the bishop as may be prescribed.
~Your sponsor lays one hand on your shoulder and speaks your confirmation name.
~The bishop anoints you by using oil of Chrism (a consecrated oil) to make the Sign of the Cross on your forehead while saying your Confirmation name and “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
You respond, “Amen.”
The bishop then says, “Peace be with you.”
You respond, “And with your spirit”
And you are now an adult in the eyes of the Church.
The ordinary minister of Confirmation is the bishop but a priest can do it in certain circumstances as an extraordinary minister.
Being confirmed in the Church means accepting responsibility for your faith and destiny. Adulthood, even young adulthood, means that you must do what is right on your own, not for the recognition or reward but merely because it’s the right thing to do.
Are you a confirmed Catholic?
Are you on fire for the Lord?
Are you bold enough to defend the doctrines of the Church?
If not, ask for the grace to start now.
Let’s meet next Monday to learn more and empower ourselves to live our calling.
God bless you.
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