The Sacrament of Confirmation
Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the sacraments of Christian initiation. 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." http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p2s2c1a2.htm
Part 1: What is Confirmation About?
What does it mean to be made perfect? This means being made more like Jesus by being more loving, more courageous in doing what is right and just, and becoming a truly good person.
Through Baptism we become a part of the Christian community, called to share our gifts and talents and to make the worlds a better place. Confirmation prepares us for battle! We do not have guns and grenades, but we have the powerful weaponry of love – the gifts of the Holy Spirit that make us deadly Ninjas in the fight for good! Because Jesus is absent he needs us to become 'other' Christs present in the world, making it a better place. He needs us to be Ninjas of good, Ninjas of God!
Our mission is the same as the mission of Jesus. He is our redeemer, we become coredeemers! In fulfilling our mission, we become perfectly skilled at loving, forgiving, and being good to everyone. This is what it means to be perfect like Jesus.
Led by the Spirit
God gave Jesus a mission. The Holy Spirit was with Christ to bring his mission to fulfillment. On receiving baptism, Jesus saw the Spirit descending on himself and remaining with him. He was led by that Spirit to undertake his public ministry as the Messiah/leader, relying on the Spirit’s presence and assistance. God gives us this same Spirit to assist and lead us, so we can continue the work of Jesus.
Jesus’ Promise and Our Giving Witness to Jesus
Jesus promised his disciples that the Holy Spirit would help them also to bear fearless witness to their faith even before persecutors (cf. Lk 12:12). On the day before he died, he assured his Apostles that he would send the Spirit of truth from the Father to remain with them forever and help them to be his witnesses. After his Resurrection, Christ promised the coming of the Holy Spirit: ‘You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you will be my witnesses’ (Acts 1:8; cf. Lk 24:49).
The Gift of the Spirit
On the feast of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles as they were gathered together with Mary the Mother of Jesus. They were so ‘filled with’ the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4) that they began to proclaim the mighty works of God. Then those who believed the Apostles’ preaching were baptized and they too received ‘the gift of the Holy Spirit’ (Acts 2:38). From that time on the Apostles imparted to the newly baptized the gift of the Spirit that completes the grace of Baptism. Confirmation imparts that gift!
The Special Strength of the Spirit
In Baptism, the newly baptized receive forgiveness of sins, adoption as children of God, and the character of Christ, by which they are made members of the Church. Through the Sacrament of Confirmation those who have been born anew in Baptism receive the gift of the Holy Spirit who gives them special strength. They become more perfectly bound to the Church and are more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith, both by word and by deed, as true witnesses of Christ.
- 1289 Through anointing with the Holy Spirit this sacrament both confirms and strengthens baptismal grace.
- 1316 Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace; it is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.
- Confirmation strengthens our will in the fight against sin, strengthening us in doing Gods will.
Confirmation helps us become more like Jesus 😊
Part 2: What Does it Mean to Get Confirmed?
At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles. This experience changed their lives. Empowered by the Holy Spirit they could fully understand what Jesus had taught them and they received the gifts to fulfil the mission Jesus entrusted them.
Just as at Pentecost, we receive the Spirit when we are confirmed. Confirmation opens our mind and heart to the presence of the Spirit, enabling us to experience the fire of God's love so we can share God’s love with others. Receiving this Love in our hearts gives us strength and courage, and enlightens our minds, giving us great wisdom.
- What begins in baptism is completed through confirmation: Through baptism we come to share in God’s life, at Confirmation we are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit on whose presence we rely to become like Jesus.
- Confirmation fills us with God’s Love, giving us the strength to love like Jesus.
- The special gifts of the Holy Spirit help us to give witness to Jesus, spreading and defending our faith by word and deed.
Doing what Jesus did
Sometimes it is hard to live as Jesus taught. The seven gifts of the Spirit guide us by helping us to respond to God's love and be like Jesus. The gifts influence us by divine inspiration and perfect our good habits (virtues). They help us go with the flow – of God’s holy Love 😊
The gifts are:
- Wisdom gives us the ability to see as God sees, and value spiritual concerns over worldly concerns. Wisdom helps us see and desire God’s plan of justice and love, that guides all things to their fulfilment.
- Understanding the gift that gives light to our mind to apprehend and understand Jesus’ teachings to fully discover the truths of our faith.
- Knowledge is a gift that reveals to us personal knowledge of God, giving us the power to know God. The more we know God the more we will love him.
- The gift of right judgment (counsel) enables us to know the difference between right and wrong, guiding us in the decisions we make. A person with right judgment avoids sin and lives out the values taught by Jesus.
- Courage (fortitude) is the inner strength that allows us to overcome all fear in following God’s will. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God.
- Reverence or piety is a gift that makes us loving and devoted children of God, our Father. It helps us be obedient to God not because of a sense of duty or obligation, but because we love God!
- We experience wonder and awe (fear) because the Holy Spirit draws us close to God. This can be intense! We don’t need to be afraid because we can trust Jesus, our best friend, who will lead us into a closer relationship with our heavenly Father. This gift helps us to cling to God whom we are afraid to be separated from.
Christians Are Known by their Fruits (not apples & bananas)
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness/trustfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
In another translation of the Bible the list of fruits totals twelve! In addition to the list above there is generosity, modesty and chastity.
Discussion Questions (ask mum or dad!):
How does receiving the gifts of the Holy Spirit help you become more like Jesus?
Describe how one of these gifts might help you to face difficulties in your life?
Describe one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Part 3: What the Spirit is Calling You to Do
Reaffirming Your Faith
During the celebration of the Eucharist, you will be asked to publicly affirm your belief in Jesus. Let’s look at that profession of faith.
- Do you renounce Satan, and all his works, and all his empty show?
- Do you believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth?
- Do you believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered death and was buried, rose again from the dead and is seated at the right hand of the Father?
- Do you believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who came upon the Apostles at Pentecost and today is given to you sacramentally in Confirmation?
- Do you believe in the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting?
A Wonderful Change
Confirmation is going to change you in wonderful ways. The gifts of the Holy Spirit may influence you in areas of your:
- Sense of self-worth and sense of inner peace
- Personal discipleship and prayer life
- Public witness to Christ, that will help continue the mission of Jesus through his Church
Continuing the Mission of Jesus
Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit to undertake his public ministry as the Messiah, relying on the Spirit’s presence and assistance. How are you going to rely on the Spirits’ assistance? How will you, filled with the Spirit, be another Jesus in your community? By prayer, by good works, by living the Gospel, how will this manifest concretely in your life?
How will you share your special gifts to bring about God’s kingdom?
The Example of the Saints
The lives of the Saints inspire us, showing us how they used their gifts to give witness to Jesus, to grow in love and holiness, and to bring about God’s kingdom. St Ignatius of Loyola was so sick in bed that all he could do was read. Reading the lives of the Saints brought him enduring happiness, so he decided to become a Saint. Now he is a Saint!
What Saint will you choose to emulate and so help you become more like Jesus? Click here http://www.johnthebaptistmoora.com/346443096 for help choosing a Saint for Confirmation.
Part 4: Don't Forget
The Example of Your Sponsor
Your sponsor is also a person that should be an example of faithfully witnessing Jesus. You will need a sponsor for Confirmation, perhaps a godparent who sponsored you when you were baptised.
To prepare yourself to receive the special sacrament of Confirmation, and to be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit you need to receive sacramental Reconciliation. This prepares your heart to receive the special gifts of the Holy Spirit. Click here for more http://www.johnthebaptistmoora.com/346443088
“BE SEALED WITH THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT”
Prayer to Jesus for the gifts of the Holy Spirit (https://avoicefromthedesert.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/come-holy-spirit/):
o Lord Jesus, grant me the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal
o Lord Jesus, grant me the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of your divine truth
o Lord Jesus, grant me the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in the science of the Saints
o Lord Jesus, grant me the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining Heaven
o Lord Jesus, grant me the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with you, and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation
o Lord Jesus, grant me the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable
o Lord Jesus, grant me the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God, and may dread in any way to displease Him