Confirmation, which comprises the post-baptismal rites of anointing, the laying on of hands, and the words, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit,” is a ratification of Baptism.
Confirmation provides an opportunity for a person baptized as a baby, to ratify freely and deliberately what their Godparents and parents chose for them at Baptism. Confirmation helps the entire community focus on the missionary dimensions of the baptismal commitment: “Go therefore and make disciples…baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Mt. 28:19-20
Confirmation helps the Church express to the world the missionary character of discipleship revealing a spirit of wisdom, understanding, right judgment, courage, knowledge, reverence and awe. (Rite of Confirmation). Not only is the person confirmed, filled with the Spirit of the Lord, but the entire community is also changed. In Confirmation, the church reveals herself as a special kind of community committed to the release of the Spirit for the transformation of all creation.
Confirmation signs Christians with the gift of the Spirit so that they can bear witness to the Lord and more work diligently in the task of building up the Body of Christ. However, since Confirmation is not the “first moment” that the Spirit is given, we have come to understand that sacraments are means of empowerment rather than steps for personal sanctification – empowerment to carry out the mission of Christ until He comes again.
For the adult seeking admission into the Catholic Church, the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist are administered at one and the same time and should normally occur during the Easter Vigil.
- (Catholicism, Richard P. McBrien)
- Rite of Confirmation
- Rite of Christian Initiation