Thursday, April 19, 2012
Friday, April 13, 2012
On several occasions, Jesus promised an outpouring of the Spirit, a promise which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday. The Resurrected Christ appeared to the disciples, breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” This promise of the Spirit was even more strikingly fulfilled in the disciples at Pentecost, when “divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.” (Acts 2: 1-4) Filled with the Holy Spirit, the apostles began to witness to “God’s deeds of power.” Scripture tells us that three thousand people were baptized that day.
Confirmation is one of the seven sacraments recognized by the Roman Catholic Church. It is, along with Baptism and Eucharist, one of the Sacraments of Initiation. All three are necessary to be a fully-initiated Catholic.
Every baptized person who has not yet been confirmed should receive the sacrament of Confirmation. In Roman Catholic tradition, it is customary to confirm candidates between the age of reason and about sixteen years of age, although many Catholics are confirmed as adults. The candidates should be in the state of grace, well prepared by prayer and catechesis, and committed to the responsibilities entailed by the sacrament.
What are the effects of Confirmation? This sacrament brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace, which roots us more deeply as children of God; it unites us more firmly to Christ; it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us; it makes our bond with the Church more perfect; and it gives us the courage to spread and defend the faith as true witnesses of Christ.
The ordinary minister of the Rite of Confirmation in the Roman Catholic Church is the bishop. The sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with Sacred Chrism on the forehead, together with the laying on of the minister’s hands, and the words “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Because Confirmation, like Baptism, imprints an indelible or un-erasable mark on the soul, it is received only once in a lifetime.
Why should you be confirmed? Practically, it opens doors. For example, canon law recommends, when it comes to getting married in the Church, that, “If they can do so without serious inconvenience, Catholics who have not yet received the sacrament of confirmation are to receive it before being admitted to marriage.” Also, in order to be a baptismal godparent or a sponsor for Confirmation, you must be a fully-initiated Catholic. But the real reason Catholics should be confirmed is because they desire the fullness of the Holy Spirit guiding them in a life of discipleship.