Sacrament of Confirmation

 In Living the Liturgy

Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the “sacraments of Christian initiation,” whose unity must be safeguarded. 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.”(CCC 1285) 

By Confirmation, Christians, those who are anointed with Holy Chrism, the sign of consecration, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which they are filled, so that their lives may give off “the aroma of Christ.”(CCC 1294) By this anointing, the confirmandi receives the “mark,” the seal of the Holy Spirit. (CCC 1295) Christ Himself declared that He was marked with His Father’s seal. Christians are also marked with a seal: “It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; He has put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in His service for ever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial. (CCC 1296) 

In the Latin rite, “the sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with Holy Chrism on the forehead, which is done by the laying on of the hand, and through the words: ‘Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti’ [Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.].” (CCC 1300) The sign of peace that concludes the rite of the sacrament signifies and demonstrates ecclesial communion with the bishop and with all the faithful. (CCC 1301) 

It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace (CCC 1302-1303): 

–  it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, “Abba! Father!”;
–  it unites us more firmly to Christ;
– it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
–  it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
–  it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross. 

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