Confirmation: Being Sealed with the Holy Spirit

th[1] Since my youngest daughter is approaching the Sacrament of Confirmation this year, I thought I would touch base on its meaning and what it conveys to the recipient.

Firstly, there are seven sacraments that Jesus gave to his Church. The word “Sacrament” is taken from the Latin word sacramentum, which means “holy things.” Even though the word “Sacrament” does not appear in the Bible, the reality of it is rooted in Scripture. Jesus made things “Holy Things” or “Sacraments” through his words and actions. Sacraments are an efficacious sign of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Confirmation is the complement of Baptism. You could say that it is a Christian’s personal Pentecost. “…It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For ‘by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed’ (Catechism of the Catholic Church #1285).”

“When Confirmation is celebrated separately from Baptism, as is the case in the Roman Rite, the Liturgy of Confirmation begins with the renewal of baptismal promises and the profession of faith by the confirmands. This clearly shows that Confirmation follows Baptism. When adults are baptized, they immediately receive Confirmation and participate in the Eucharist (CCC #1298).”

In the Roman Rite the bishop extends his hands over the whole group of the confirmands. Since the time of the apostles this gesture has signified the gift of the Spirit. The bishop invokes the outpouring of the Spirit in these words:  th[6]

All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
by water and the Holy Spirit
you freed your sons and daughters rom sin
and gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them
to be their helper and guide.
Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of right judgment and courage,
the spirit of knowledge and reverence.
Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence.
We ask this through Christ our Lord (CCC #1299).

In the celebration of Confirmation, sacred chrism is used. This chrism is pure olive oil mixed with balsam and is blessed by a bishop when celebrating a Mass on Holy Thursday. This oil is used to anoint the forehead of the person receiving the sacrament. The words used when the anointing is conferred are: N., be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.

th[5]

The following are some of the major Biblical foundations of the Sacrament of Confirmation:

1.) “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. The two went down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit (for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus). Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).”

2.) “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability (Acts 2:1-4).”

3.) “While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the interior regions and came to Ephesus, where he found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became believers?” They replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Then he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They answered, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.” On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. When Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them…(Acts 19:1-6).”

4.) “So Ananias went and entered the house. He laid his hands on Saul and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on your way here, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and his sight was restored. Then he got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength (Acts 9:17-19).”

Until next time, God bless.

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