The Sacrament of Confirmation

“But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.”

John 16:7

At Pentecost, Jesus fulfilled his promise to send the Advocate to strengthen his followers. That first outpouring of the Holy Spirit was dramatic to say the least: a strong driving wind, tongues of fire, the sudden ability to speak foreign languages and, within hours, the conversion of 3,000 people. But the spiritual power of that ancient event is still available to us today! Indeed, the sacrament of Confirmation in its own way, “perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church” (CCC #1288). Just as the apostles laid hands upon baptized Christians to give them the fullness of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 8:17), so their successors do for us. Through the anointing with sacred chrism, the laying on of hands and the words of the confirming bishop, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit,” we too are given the supernatural strength to be courageous witnesses to Christ. This sacrament of initiation, which completes the graces of baptism (cf. CCC #1285), also nurtures in us the precious gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, counsel, piety and fear of the Lord (cf Isa 11:1-3). Equipped with these heavenly tools, we can go forth to live our faith wholeheartedly, and to proclaim it without fear.

“While thy body is anointed with the visible ointment, thy soul is sanctified by the Holy and life-giving Spirit.”

St. Cyril of Jerusalem