Confirmation is a sacrament which imparts the grace of the Holy Spirit. In the ceremony of confirmation a cross is “drawn” on the forehead of the individual as the following words (the form) are said: “N. receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” The newly confirmed responds: “Amen” and the peace is exchanged, “Peace be with you.” It is customary that a person to be confirmed choses a Confirmation saint and adopts their name. This is done to deepen our participation in the life of the saints and to imitate their virtuous life.
The grace that is imparted at Confirmation is called “sanctifying” in that it works upon one’s soul to bring about justification (salvation).
Judas, not the Iscariot, said to him, "Master, [then] what happened that you will reveal yourself to us and not to the world?"
Jesus answered and said to him, "Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. (Johh 14:22-23 NAB)
Confirmation shares with the whole of the sacramental life, the power to make us Holy. This kind of grace can be lost! Mortal sin moves us away from God and his gift of grace. Remember that God is a God of justice and he does not merely ignore our serious infractions. We seek God’s mercy and forgiveness in all the sacraments. God is always ready to forgive us.
It is hard to know or understand the actions and gifts of the Holy Spirit. The supernatural character of the Holy Spirit puts an unfortunate distance between us and God. Among the various themes that can be identified in the Acts of the Apostles concerns the Holy Spirit. He provides the direction and protection of the first Christians. Paul’s work to establish Churches all over the Mediterranean is clearly seen as being the result of their obedience to the Holy Spirit.
Still it is possible to misunderstand the actions of the Holy Spirit. Questions arise, especially concerning the unfortunate but frequent abandonment of the faith that is planted in the hearts of the faithful at their Baptism. How many times have we all noticed those who seem lifeless when it comes to living the Christian life, even though (and this is the issue here) they had receive the powerful grace of the Holy Spirit. It is as if you were assigned a moving company at your Confirmation, whose job is to transform your house (soul). They have to move a lot of things out in order to make room for the virtues of the Christian life. So they go to work moving out vice and darkness and moving in grace and virtue.
At one point of the furniture movers (angels if you like) picks up a beautiful rocking chair, one that has been in the family for a hundred years. And you say, “Excuse me. I know you are doing a very fine job and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. But that one piece there is one that we have had in the family for a very long time and I am very attached to it. Could you let me enjoy it just a little longer? And the angel carefully puts it down and with surprising strength he picks up a huge oversize chair. Once again there comes the little voice that seems to have grown weaker as the spectacle continues. Piece after piece until finely one of the brighter angels comes over and very gently takes you aside and explains that there won’t be room for the virtues if we do not move out most all of the things of your own life. And they will go out and sit on the curb until you are ready. As you turn back to your little house (you tiny soul) things look a lot smaller.
Confirmation is about letting God in.
Catholic Youth are confirmed through a two-year preparation process in 7th and 8th grade.
For more information, see our JYM (Junior Youth Ministries) or contact Claudia Wells.