About the Sacrament of Confirmation
Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Spirit to make us strong and Christians striving for Heaven.
In the Acts of the Apostles, the Apostles laid hands on the new Christians and they received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 8:14-18) In the early Church, according to St. Cyprian, Baptism and Confirmation were given at the same time, comprising a “double Sacrament.” As the history of the Church unfolded, the three Sacraments became separated from one another. Thus we have the tradition today of Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation at different times in a person’s spiritual progress. The bishop, highlighting the special significance of this Sacrament, usually administers Confirmation. During the ceremony, the bishop lays his hands upon the person in the same manner that the Apostles did and calls upon the Holy Spirit to strengthen the person.
In Baptism we are made Christians, but we are not very strong until we receive the Holy Spirit in Confirmation. The Apostles were very fearful, hiding out, until the Holy Spirit came to them at Pentecost. Then they went out to preach the gospel boldly, and suffered martyrdom bravely. Both Baptism and Confirmation imprint an indelible, spiritual mark, which is the sign of Jesus Christ (from the Catechism of the Catholic Church para 1304).
The Catechism of the Catholic Church Paragraph 1285 states that Baptism, the Eucharist, and Confirmation together constitute what are know as the “Sacrament of Christian Initiation.” These Sacraments are necessary for saving grace.
Confirmation is one of the most misunderstood Sacraments today. Many people see it as nothing more than a “rite of passage” into adulthood, but it is much more than that. Confirmation is the Sacrament of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Some of the effects of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit given at the Sacrament of Confirmation are:
-it brings an increase in the grace given at Baptism
-it gives an indelible spiritual mark, which is characterized by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit
-it strengthens the Christian to profess the faith in an open manner.
(For more information on Confirmation see The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Paragraphs 1285-321.)
When you are Confirmed, you are called to some very special duties. Defender of the Faith:you are called to know your Faith, the teachings of the Holy Church, and be willing and able to defend the Faith against those who would attack it. Fully Initiated Member of the Community:In Confirmation, you are called to stand up for that which is just, be an active part of the parish, and serve your community.
As an young adult Confirmed member of the Church you are called to know your faith and to stand up for what is just. Service to those around us helps us see Christ’s image in every person we meet and gives us the grace of developing more charitable Christ-like hearts.
What is the significance of Chrism oil? Sacred Chrism is the oil used for anointing in the Sacraments of the Church. This oil is blessed at a solemn Chrism Mass celebrated shortly before Easter.
The Sponsor, similar to a godparent has a duty to assist you in learning and keeping your faith, in fulfilling the responsibilities of Confirmation, helping with your spiritual welfare, and just being another member of the faith community of the universal Church that can be a role model.
At Confirmation you are in a sense becoming a new person: an adult in the faith, a process which was started at your Baptism. Just like Jesus gave Saul (we know him as St. Paul) a new name for his new mission in life, we choose a saint’s name at Confirmation to represent a person who has qualities we would like to emulate in our own lives. Whatever saint you choose, you will come under their patronage, and receive the graces of their particular charisms.
The Sacrament of Confirmation confers saving grace. It gives us the strength “to endure to the end” (Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13, Mark 13:13), and provides us with the graces and virtues necessary to save our souls, so we can say as St. Paul said in II Timothy 4:7: “I have fought a good fight: I have finished my course: I have kept the faith.”