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The Sacrament of Confirmation
Transcript of The Sacrament of Confirmation
In the early church, the sacraments of initiation-Baptism, Confirmation, and Communion-were celebrated together in the same ceremony by adult catechumens at the Easter Vigil.
The catechumens would be submerged into a pool where they were baptized. Then, they were clothed in a white robe. The Apostles & first bishops would lay their hands on the catechumens and anoint them with oil, "sealing" their baptism.
Then, the newly baptized proceeded to a place of honor among the community where they participated in the Eucharist for the 1st time. The grand climax was their joining the faithful around the "table of the Lord" for the celebration of the Eucharist.
Confirmation was originally inseparable from Baptism. But then, Emperor Constantine made Christianity the state religion early in the 4th century. Since so many people were being baptized, the Bishops couldn't preside at every Baptism. The Bishops in the East solved the problem by delegating the Sacraments of Initiation to their priests, reserving for themselves only the Blessing of the Oil used in the Rites. The Bishops of the West also delegated Baptism to priests, but reserved the anointing and laying on of hands for themselves.
youtube video on the sacraments of initiation
scriptural references to confirmation
"The people of Samaria were baptized in Christ, but did not receive the fullness of the Spirit until they were confirmed by the elders. Confirmation is a sacrament that Jesus Christ instituted within His Catholic Church to further strengthen those who have reached adulthood."
Baptism is given to your parents and is meant to lead you in the right direction of a Christ-like life. Confirmation is you confirming the choice made by your parents.
"The people of Ephesus were baptized in Christ, but Paul laid hands on them to seal them with the Holy Spirit. This sealing refers to the sacrament of Confirmation"
The Sacrament of Confirmation is the Holy Spirit being sealed into your soul to protect you
"Paul gives instruction to the Hebrews about the laying on of hands, in reference to Confirmation, not ordination. The early Church laid hands upon the confirmand to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation"
Paul gave very specific instructions about how to administer Confirmation. To this day we follow the same instructions he gave us
"Jesus says the Father has set His seal on Him. As the Father sets His seal on Jesus, so Jesus sets His seal on us on the Sacrament of Baptism, and later, in the Sacrament of Confirmation."
The Sacrament of Confirmation was given to us directly from Jesus. Jesus is sometimes known as the first sacrament from God because Jesus initiated many of the sacraments.
"The locusts could not harm those with the seal of God upon their foreheads."
Receiving the Holy Spirit at Confirmation is meant to protect you.
role of confirmation in the sacraments of initiation
Confirmation is known as our own Pentecost. At Confirmation, we are filled and strengthened by the Holy Spirit. By signing us with the gift of the Spirit, Confirmation makes us more aware of the image of the Lord and fills us with the Holy Spirit, so that we may beat witness to Him before all the world and work to bring the Body of Christ to its fullness as soon as possible.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, right judgement, courage, knowledge, reverence, and the wonder and awe in the presence of God.
The 2 essential signs in Confirmation are the Laying on of Hands and the anointing with the Oil of Chrism along with the words: "Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit."
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).
The matter of confirmation
In the Western Church the sacrament is usually administered by the bishop. At the beginning of the ceremony there is a general imposition of hands, the bishop meantime praying that the Holy Spirit may come down upon those who have already been regenerated: "send forth upon them thy sevenfold Spirit the Holy Paraclete." He then anoints the forehead of each with chrism saying: "I sign thee with the sign of the cross and confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Finally, he gives each a slight blow on the cheek saying: "peace be with thee". A prayer is added that the Holy Spirit may dwell in the hearts of those who have been confirmed, and the rite closes with the bishop's blessing.
The Eastern Church omits the imposition of hands and the prayer at the beginning, and accompanies the anointing with the words: "the sign [or seal] of the gift of the Holy Spirit." These several actions symbolize the nature and purpose of the sacrament: the anointing signifies the strength given for the spiritual conflict; the balsam contained in the chrism, the fragrance of virtue and the good odor of Christ; the sign of the cross on the forehead, the courage to confess Christ, before all men; the imposition of hands and the blow on the cheek, enrollment in the service of Christ which brings true peace to the soul. (Cf. Summa Theologiæ III.72.4).
Confirmation is the sacrament that completes the grace we receive in Baptism. It confirms, this grace through the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit that we receive as part of Confirmation. Also, Confirmation enables us to participate in the worship and apostolic life of the Church. Like Baptism, Confirmation is received only once in a person's life.
The laying on of hands takes place in the act of anointing. The chrism oil employed must be a mixture of olive oil and balsam consecrated by a bishop.
Olive-oil, being of its own nature rich, diffusive, and abiding, is fitted to represent the copious outpouring of sacramental grace, while balsam, which gives forth most agreeable and fragrant odors, typifies the innate sweetness of Christian virtue. Oil also gives strength and suppleness to the limbs, while balsam preserves from corruption. Thus anointing with chrism aptly signifies that fulness of grace and spiritual strength by which we are enabled to resist the contagion of sin and produce the sweet flowers of virtue. "For we are the good odor of Christ unto God" (2 Corinthians 2:15).
the form of confirmation
All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from in 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 judgement and courage, the spirit of knowledge and revernce. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
(The Rites, Confirmation 42)
"I sign you with the sign of the cross and I confirm you with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
This is when the Holy Spirit comes down on the confirmand and strengthens the relationship with the confirmand and God.
The effects of confirmation on the confirmand and the church
Confirmation completes Baptism and perfects Baptismal grace. It helps us become more complete and perfect images of Christ and members of His Body. It strengthens us to live as Gospel witnesses i all that we do. The Sacrament of Confirmation strengthens our bond with the Church and helps us become the Body of Christ.
Gifts of the Holy Spirit
These gifts of the Holy Spirit help us grow in holiness and union with the Blessed Trinity. They help us listen more closely to God's Word and help us act on that Word in our lives.
Fear of the Lord:
Greek word meaning "to see clearly." This gift helps us value what's most important in life and keep our priorities straight.
A spiritual gift that helps us see "the bigger picture." It helps us see the real meaning, or truth
It relies on the virtue of prudence. It helps us make the best decisions; based on the desire to do God's will.
This gift enables people to stand up for his/her beliefs and remains true the themselves despite opposition, discomfort, or even persecution.
This gift helps us to know about God and the Church's teachings and really experience God. It helps us open ourselves to be known by God in a deep way
This means "faithful obedience and love." It enables us o give God true worship and praise.
This gift helps us be receptive to the surprising, generous, and loving presence of God in our lives.
Service for the confirmand
When you are confirmed, you receive a special grace where your faith is deepened and strengthened, so that it will be strong enough for yourself and for when you serve others. You can view Confirmation as a "spiritual growing up." You begin to see that your purpose after being saved, is to continue to grow in Christ while bringing others to Christ too.
In reality, your service event after Confirmation is all for God. When you serve God, you want to be completely dedicated to Him, living your life for Him every second of every day. One idea, or thing, to keep in mind when trying to figure out how to serve Him every day are the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control
In your long term service for God, you want to be active in living out your faith and service in God. For example, confirmands can return to their parish and/or school to help the next group of students that are getting confirmed.
We can view Confirmation as a 2nd Baptism. Our baptismal vows are completed and our relationship with God is strengthened. This completion occurs through the 7 Gifts of the Holy Spirit. After we have been confirmed, we should continue to study our religion even more than before, so that we may be able to explain and defend our faith, and thus cooperate with the grace of Confirmation.
Smith, Elizabeth. The History And Development Of The Sacrament Of Confirmation. EWTN News, 19 September 2012. Web Site. 10 October 2014.
Scannell, Thomas. "Confirmation." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 14 Oct. 2014 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04215b.htm>.
Morrisroe, Patrick. "Chrism." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 14 Oct. 2014 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03696b.htm>.
Amodei, Michael, and Janie Gustafo. Meeting Jesus in the Sacraments. Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria, 2010. Ave Maria Press. Web.