Chapter 14: The Sacrament of Confirmation

Chapter 14: The Sacrament of Confirmation

Chapter 14: The Sacrament of Confirmation

The Holy Spirit: last phase of God’s Self-Revelation

  • The Father sent the Son and the Son sent the Holy Spirit to be with the Church until Christ comes back (parousia): “But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming. He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.” (John 16:13-15)
  • The Holy Spirit will abide in the Church until the end of time to lead everyone through Christ back to the Father.
  • Every action of the Church (e.g., sacraments, meditations, good actions, etc…) takes place through the Holy Spirit.
  • We can’t even pray without the Holy Spirit: “No one can say Jesus is Lord, except through the Holy Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:3)
  • The Holy Spirit marks the beginning of the ‘end’: The descent of the Holy Spirit is the last phase of the Revelation of the Blessed Trinity.
  • Therefore, as the Acts of the Apostles over and over again relates, the descent of the Spirit on Pentecost marks the “last days” or the eschatological time.
  • There will be no more revelation of God. Salvation is accomplished: “When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.” (John 19:30)

The Holy Spirit makes all the Sacraments happen

  • Every time we celebrate the sacraments, we invoke the Holy Spirit to come down and make Christ present.
  • In the Sacrament of Baptism, we pray “send your Holy Spirit upon this water.”
  • In the Sacrament of the Eucharist before the consecration, we pray “send your Holy Spirit upon these gifts to make them the Body and Blood of Christ…” 
  • In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we confirm that the Father of mercies “sent the Holy Spirit among us for forgiveness of our sins…”
  • In all the other sacraments, the church always invokes the Holy Spirit to communicate the grace of Christ.
  • In Confirmation one receives the Holy Spirit in Person.

Confirmation cannot be repeated

  • In the same way the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Orders cannot be repeated, so also is the Sacrament of Confirmation.
  • One cannot be ‘re-baptized’, ‘re-ordained’, or ‘re-confirmed’.
  • By the sacrament of Confirmation, an indelible mark is imprinted on the soul.
  • The descent of the Holy Spirit on the Church at Pentecost is irrevocable.
  • Therefore, the personal descent of the Holy Spirit on the person being confirmed is irrevocable.

Confirmation in case of danger

  • In case of danger, children should be confirmed immediately to complete the grace of baptism (see CCC, 1307).
  • If a Christian is in danger of death, a priest can give them the Sacrament of Confirmation. The Church does not wish that any of her children should die without receiving this sacrament.
  • St. Thomas Aquinas reminds us that many children in the history of the Church fought for their faith to the point of shedding their blood (STH, III, 72, 5, ad. 2): This indicates that the grace of Confirmation can work in everyone independently of age.

The Holy Spirit is communicated through the Laying on of Hands

  • The descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday took place 50 days after the resurrection of Christ.
  • However, Pentecost was meant to be perpetuated in the Church through the laying on of hands by the Apostles and their successors.
  • In fact, when Peter and John went to the Samaritans who accepted the Word of God, “they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 8:17)
  • St. Paul, when he baptized the Ephesians, “laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in other tongues and prophesied.” (Acts 19:6)
  • In the Acts of the Apostles, the Holy Spirit chooses Barnabas and Saul to do missionary work. They needed the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, completing their fasting and prayer, they laid hands on them and sent them off.” (Acts 13:2-3)
  • The Letter to the Hebrews confirms the laying on of hands as a way to radically embrace the Christian message: ” Therefore, let us leave behind the basic teaching about Christ and advance to maturity, without laying the foundation all over again: repentance from dead works and faith in God, instruction about baptisms and laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment.” (Hebrews 6:1-2)
  • As a summary of this theology, St. Paul VI teaches: “The imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church.” (Divinae Consortium Naturae, 659)

The Holy Spirit is communicated through Anointing

  • Very early in the Church, anointing was added to the laying on of hands for biblical reasons.
  • The expression ‘Christ’ means the ‘anointed one’.
  • The anointing of Christ by the Holy Spirit shapes Christ’s entire mission from his Incarnation until his ascension into heaven.
  • Not only Christ, but all those anointed ‘Christ – ians’ are the recipients of the Holy Spirit in this sacrament: “This anointing highlights the name ‘Christian,’ which means ‘anointed’ and derives from that of Christ himself whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit.” (CCC, 1289)
  • The anointing is a sign of a total consecration to Christ in which we receive a seal that cannot be erased.
  • Through this seal we dedicate ourselves to Christ’s service forever and are guaranteed a divine protection in the last trial at the end of time

The Holy Spirit is communicated through the successors of the Apostles

  •  Since the Apostles communicated the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands, that same gift will continue forever in the Church through their successors. How do we know that?
  • St. Paul was not present at Pentecost; he received the Holy Spirit through the Apostles.
  • In turn, St. Paul was able to communicate the Holy Spirit to others. When he heard that the disciples in Ephesus were not baptized yet, he baptized them, “and when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them.” (Acts 19:6)
  • St. Paul claims to have been comissioned to communicate the gift of the Holy Spirit though the laying on of hands: “It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)

Confirmation is the beginning of the journey of faith

  • Confirmation is the beginning of the journey of faith, not its end.
  • Many Catholics leave the Church after Confirmation and start walking in dangerous and sinful paths.
  • Confirmation is like a seed that keeps growing the grace of Christ in us, despite our sinful decisions.
  • In many cases, the grace of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation produces its fruits when people convert after a long life of sin.

Confirmation fulfills Baptism

  • Confirmation fulfills the Sacrament of Baptism. Jesus “will baptize (you) with the holy Spirit and fire.” (Matthew 3:11)
  • The grace of confirmation extends in the Church the grace of baptism until the end of our life: “It must be explained to the faithful that 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’.” (CCC, 1285)
  • When a baby is born, they start growing immediately. if they don’t, they die.
  • Baptism is like a birth; Confirmation is like growth.
  • In Baptism the new born becomes God’s child; in Confirmation the child starts to grow and mature in the faith of the Church.

Confirmation seals the Common Priesthood received in Baptism

  • If the Sacrament of Holy Orders configures the candidate to receive the ordained ministerial priesthood, Baptism and Confirmation introduces the recipient to the common priesthood of the faithful.
  • Baptism initiates and introduces the child to the Common Priesthood of the faithful.
  • Confirmation confirms the child to the Common Priesthood of the faithful.
  • The person who is confirmed becomes a priest in the sense that they share in the mission of Christ the High Priest.

Confirmation is a personal Pentecost

  • At Pentecost the Holy Spirit was outpoured on the Church as a community.
  • The Sacrament of Confirmation is a personal Pentecost.
  • The Sacrament of Confirmation gives us not only the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but also the Holy Spirit in Person.

Confirmation encourages us to preach Christ

  • As soon as the Holy Spirit came down on the Apostles on Pentecost, they received the courage to preach Christ to the world.
  • The grace of the Spirit created in them an unstoppable force to be witnesses of Jesus even in the face of death: Most of the Apostles were killed because of Jesus.
  • The Apostles, who fled when Jesus was captured, are now witnesses to the end of the earth.
  • When one is confirmed, they receive the power to publicly participate in the mission of the Church.
  • When one is confirmed, they receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit to perform that mission.

Confirmation is a ‘guaranteed’ promise of our eternal salvation

  • Just like the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles was irrevocable, Confirmation is a ‘guaranteed’ grace of the Holy Spirit. God “has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:22)
  • Those who are confirmed need to accept this grace, work with it, nurture it, and keep it growing until the end of their lives: “In him (Christ) you also, who have heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance…” (Ephesians 1: 13-14).
  • Therefore, when we sin we work against the seal of the Holy Spirit: “And do not grieve the holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30)
  • Receiving the Holy Spirit at Confirmation implies a radical and total belonging to God: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
  • The Holy Spirit promises the Church victory and life: “‘Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the victor I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that is in the garden of God.” (Revelation 2:7)

Confirmation is the action of the Blessed Trinity 

  • The Holy Spirit pours out the divine life of the Trinity on the person receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation: “You have received the spiritual sign, the sign of wisdom; God the Father has sealed you, Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has given you the gift of the Spirit in your heart.” (St. Ambrose, De Mysteriis, 7:42)
  • The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
  • Receiving the Holy Spirit at Confirmation means receiving Christ Himself: “Whoever does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” (Romans 8:9)
  • The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Father: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.” (John 14:26)
  • Receiving the Holy Spirit at Confirmation means receiving the Father Himself: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)
  • In confirmation we receive the Holy Spirit in Person, who is the Spirit of the Father and the Son: Confirmation is the action of the Blessed Trinity in us.

Gifts of the Holy Spirit

  • We receive all the gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation.
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit are many but One is the Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 12:4-30).
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to us for our sanctification.
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to us only because of the death and resurrection of Christ.
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit are given to us only because they are in God’s plan: “God added his testimony by signs, wonders, various acts of power, and distribution of the gifts of the holy Spirit according to his will.” (Hebrews 2:4)
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation inspire us to obey Christ.
  • The gifts of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation help us to accept Christ as our saviour, grow in holiness and be led to eternal life.

Wisdom:

  • The first gift is wisdom or the divine penetration of the truths of faith: “To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom.” (1 Corinthians 12:8)
  • Wisdom is the capacity of understanding the truths of the Catholic faith and direct human affairs in light of God’s divine revelation.
  • It is a deep intelligence and a perspicuous conception of how to apply the Catholic faith to our daily life.

 Knowledge:

  • If wisdom is the gift to understand the truths of the Catholic faith, the ability to do so is the Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge: “To another (is given) the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:8)
  • In the same way the human will is the faculty of freedom, wisdom is the ‘faculty’ of knowledge. 
  • Wisdom is like the eye and knowledge is the actual vision.
  • When one receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit, one develops a paradigm (the way we look at reality) to act according to the values of the Gospel.
  • Knowledge is the ability to judge correctly about faith and morals in order to keep oneself on the path of justice.

 Understanding

  • Understanding is a deeper insight into the intrinsic reality of things. 
  • Understanding is the inner capacity of reading the heart of truths about the world and God: “To another is given the Spirit’s gift of) prophecy.” (1 Corinthians 12:10)
  • Note that we have two approaches in today’s moral theology: the first is called the pragmatic approach and the second is called the cognitive approach.
  • Cognitive approach takes as its point of departure the truths of the Catholic faith. Based on these truths one proceeds to act.
  • The pragmatic approach is when people appoint themselves as the criteria of truth. For them, it does not matter what God teaches; it matters what they think is true.
  • Understanding will help avoid the pragmatic approach and read the heart of truths revealed by God.

Counsel

  • The gift of counsel is the perfection of the virtue of prudence.
  • Here the Holy Spirit urges us to integrate the gift of prudence with the elements of faith: “To another (is given the gift of) discernment of spirits.” (1 Corinthians 12:10)
  • An example could be the gift to detect something bad hidden behind something looking good. St. Peter scolds Ananias for deceiving the Apostles: “But Peter said, ‘Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart so that you lied to the holy Spirit and retained part of the price of the land?'” (Acts 5:3)
  • Counsel allows the human person to follow God’s necessary path that leads them to salvation.
  • The gift of counsel creates the ultimate freedom in us, the freedom of living the truth of Christ: “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17)

Fortitude

  • The Holy Spirit gives us the strength and the will to be witnesses to Christ and the Catholic faith: the gift of fortitude.
  • The Holy Spirit strengthens people when they are on trial or are at the verge of getting killed because of adherence to Christ: “For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” (Matthew 10:20)
  • Fortitude is a radical determination to do good and avoid evil: “In all circumstances, hold faith as a shield, to quench all (the) flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)
  • The Holy Spirit will grant the confidence to overcome all difficult and dangerous obstacles in view of the rewards of eternal life.

 Piety

  • The gift of piety makes us aware of the supremacy of God as our Father and of his children: “To another (is given the gift of) faith by the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:9)
  • Piety is the feeling of adoration and reverence toward the majesty of God.
  • The Holy Spirit inspires us to revere God with filial affection, to respect people’s dignity because of their relationship with God, to honor the saints, and to accept the Bible with reverence as God’s Word: “But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the holy Spirit.” (Jude 20)
  • Our free will plays a major role in accepting the gift of piety and submitting ourselves entirely to God: “Therefore, as the holy Spirit says: “Oh, that today you would hear his voice, ‘Harden not your hearts…” (Hebrews 3:7-8)

Fear of the Lord

  • This gift strengthens the virtue of hope and creates a profound respect to God’s majesty.
  • The fear of the Lord in us acknowledges the hope that was revealed through the faith, and wholeheartedly submits and bows to God’s majesty: “To another (is given) faith by the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:9)
  • It is not a negative fear; rather, it is a positive attitude of knowing who we are in relationship to God and of never allowing ourselves to be separated from God. 

St. Ambrose summarizes the gifts of the Holy Spirit by saying: “Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God’s presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.” (De Myst. 7:42)

Spirituality of the Charismatic Groups

  • Charismatic groups seek to be filled by the Holy Spirit to live and preach the Gospel.
  • Charismatic groups are invited never to forget that the Redeemer is Jesus Christ.
  • The Holy Spirit will always extends Christ’s redemption in the Church; he does not create one: “When the Advocate comes whom I will send you from the Father, the Spirit of truth that proceeds from the Father, he will testify to me.” (John 15:26)
  • St. John Paul II confirmed that truth be explaining that the Most Blessed Trinity will always be the center of the Catholic faith. Every act performed by God emanates from the Blessed Trinity:”This is the same Spirit who was at work in the incarnation and in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus and who is at work in the Church. He is therefore not an alternative to Christ nor does he fill a sort of void which is sometimes suggested as existing between Christ and the Logos.” (St. John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio,29)
  • The Holy Spirit does not have a parallel or a complementary mission that will add anything to the redemption of Christ: “There are also those who propose the hypothesis of an economy of the Holy Spirit with a more universal breadth than that of the Incarnate Word, crucified and risen. This position also is contrary to the Catholic faith, which, on the contrary, considers the salvific incarnation of the Word as a trinitarian event. In the New Testament, the mystery of Jesus, the Incarnate Word, constitutes the place of the Holy Spirit’s presence as well as the principle of the Spirit’s effusion on humanity…” (Pope Benedict XVI, Dominus Iesus, 11)
  • Focusing on the Holy Spirit is essential because everything happens through the Holy Spirit.
  • Keep in mind, however, that the ‘content’ of the Holy Spirit’s mission is the plan of the Father fulfilled by Jesus Christ.
  • All of us are invited to invoke the Holy Spirit to fill our lives every moment of our day.
  • The Holy Spirit will lead us to Christ and Christ to the Father.
  • To the Most Blessed trinity be glory and honor forever and ever.

 

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Capítulo 14: Confirmación

         La Confirmación es una Pentecostés PersonalEl sacramento de la conformación está saliendo del Espíritu Santo en la persona que está siendo confirmado; es una Pentecostes personal. Tan pronto que Cristo reveló que el Padre lo mandó, y tan pronto que Cristo también reveló que cuando ha no estaba, el Espíritu Santo vendrá sobre la Iglesia, la Iglesia inmediatamente empezó desarrollar una Teología del Espíritu Santo. Los Hechos de los Apóstoles enfatiza el trabajo del Espíritu Santo en la Iglesia. Especialmente en el Concilio de Constantinopla (381 A.D.) confirmó que “nosotros creemos en el Espíritu Santo, el Señor, el dador de vida quien procede del Padre y el Hijo…” Como Dios es una Trinidad y ya que la última fase de la revelación de la Trinidad tomó lugar en el Espíritu Santo, la descendencia del Espíritu marca los “últimos días” o el tiempo escatológico. No habrá más revelación de Dios.

         El comenzó escondido de la Iglesia empezó cuando Jesucristo fue nacido redimiendo la humanidad por la cruz y resurrección. La revelación pública, la manifestación pública, la misión pública de la Iglesia tomó lugar en Pentecostés. El Espíritu le dio a luz a la Iglesia. Cuando está confirmado, ellos reciben el poder de proclamar públicamente la misión de la Iglesia y los regalos del Espíritu Santo para realizar la misión. Ellos reciben el Espíritu Santo en persona y no solo de sus regalos. Es una gracia sacramental garantizado por él Espíritu Santo.

         Por Cada Acción de la Iglesia toma lugar por el Espíritu SantoEl Padre mandó el Hijo y del Hijo mandó el Espíritu Santo. El Espíritu permanecerá con la Iglesia hasta el fin del tiempo para guiar a todos con el Padre. Por tanto, es el Espíritu Santo quien extiende en la Iglesia la redención de Cristo hasta el fin del tiempo. Cada acción que la Iglesia realiza (sacramentos, oraciones…) sucede por el Espíritu Santo. San Pablo dijo “nadie puede decir que Jesús es el Señor, excepto por el Espíritu Santo”. Cada vez que celebramos cualquier de los sacramentos, invocamos el Espíritu Santo para que bajo y haga Cristo presente. En el sacramento del bautismo oramos “manda tu Espíritu Santo sobre esta agua.”. En el sacramento de la Eucaristía antes de la consagración oramos “manda tu Espíritu Santo sobre estos regalos para convertirlos en el cuerpo y la sangre de Cristo…”. En el sacramento de la reconciliación confirmamos que el Padre de misericordias quién “mandó el Espíritu Santo entre nosotros para el perdón de nuestros pecados…” y también en los demás sacramentos, la Iglesia siempre invocará el Espíritu Santo para poder comunicar la gracia de Cristo.

         El Espíritu Santo es el Espíritu de JesucristoEl único sacramento que nosotros enfatiza el Espíritu Santo en Persona es la confirmación. Los demás seis sacramentos que evocamos el Espíritu Santo para conferir la gracia de la redención de Cristo. Por lo tanto, uno no puede ignorar la dimensióncristológico del sacramento de la confirmación porque el Espíritu Santo siempre será el Espíritu Santo de Cristo.

         Grupos Carismático buscan ser llenos y movido por el Espíritu Santo. De gran importancia en la espiritualidad de estos movimientos nunco olvidan que el redentor quien se convierto en hombre en el vientre de la Virgen Maria es Jesucristo. El Espíritu Santo siempre “toma de lo que es de Cristo y se lo dará a la Iglesia”.

         Regalos del Espíritu SantoHemos escuchado varias veces de los siete regalos del Espíritu Santo que son recibidos en la confirmación. El primero es el regalo de la sabiduría o la divina penetración de las verdades de la fe. Básicamente el regalo de la sabiduría es la capacidad de entendiendo la verdades de la fe Católica.

         Si el regalo de la sabiduría es para entender la verdades de la Fe Católica, la capacidad de hacerlo es el regalo del Espíritu Santo de conocimiento. En la misma manera la voluntad humana es la facultad de la libertad, la facultad de conocimiento es sabiduría. La sabiduría es como el ojo y el conocimiento es la visión. Cuando uno recibe los regalos del Espíritu Santo, uno desarrolla un paradigma para actuar de acuerdo a los valores del Evangelio. Paradigma es una manera que uno ve el mundo: recibiendo el regalo de la sabiduría y conocimiento cambia el paradigma de uno para mira al mundo en los ojos de Cristo.

         Cada vez que uno percibe el mundo por la mente de Cristo, el Espíritu Santo es el que los está nutriendo con sabiduría para que constantemente están mirando a las cosas por los valores y verdades de la fe Católica. Tenemos dos enfoques en la teología moral de hoy: la primera se llama el enfoque pragmático y el segundo se llama el enfoque cognitivo. El enfoque cognitivo toma su punto de salida en las verdades de la fe Católica. Basados en estas verdades uno proceder actuar. El enfoque pragmático es cuando las personas se hacen la criteria de la verdad y toman el punto de salida en lo que ellos es verdad y no lo que Dios dice que es verdad.

         El regalo de concilio es la perfección de la virtud de la prudencia. Aquí el Espíritu Santo te urge ser prudente y íntegra el regalo de prudencia con los elementos de la fe. Un ejemplo podría ser el regalo de detectar algo malo escondido detrás de algo que se mira bien.

         El Espíritu Santo te da la fuerza y la voluntad de ser testimonio a la Fe: el regalo de la fortaleza. El Espíritu Santo fortaleza a las personas cuando están en prueba o están a punto de ser asesinado por tu fe.

         El regalo de la compasión nos hace consciente de la reverencia de Dios como el Padre y las personas sus hijos. Es el sentimiento de adoración y reverencia hacia la majestad de Dios. Depende de nuestra voluntad libre aceptar el regalo de compasión y someterse completamente a Dios.

         Finalmente, es el regalo del miedo del Señor. Básicamente este regalo confirme la virtud de la esperanza y profundo respecto a la majestad de Dios. El miedo del Señor significa que uno reconoce la esperanza fue revelada por la fe y sometido con entusiasmo y inclinarse a la majestad de Dios.