So there we have it!!
The historical recounting of how this sacrament developed in the East and the West is REALLY REMARKABLE
Go back and reread Paragraphs 1290-1292
Paragraph 1290 says, “In the first centuries Confirmation generally comprised one single celebration with Baptism, forming with it a ‘double sacrament,’ according to the expression of St. Cyprian.”
Baptism and Confirmation were pretty much united
Confirmation, in the West, was kind of reserved for the bishop
This is the role that the successor of the apostles to impart the sacrament of Confirmation on Christians
Over the course of time, where there were infant Baptisms all the time, the bishop couldn’t be there all of the time
So the infants got baptized right away and then later in life, there is a temporal separation, in time between one’s Baptism and one’s Confirmation
They wanted to highlight the unity of the Christian with the bishop
It’s so important to highlight the unity of the Christian believer with the Body of Christ symbolized by the bishop
In the East, they still had that same desire to have unity
They understood the role of the bishop
They commissioned their priests to be able to confirm in the name of the bishop, or in place of the bishop, instead of the bishop having to be there
The sacred chrism, or myron, was blessed by the bishop just like ours is now in the Latin Church
The sacred chrism is ALWAYS blessed by the bishop of that person’s diocese
THERE IS ALWAYS A CONNECTION!!
Both in the East and the West, there is an apostolic connection, an Episcopal connection, between the sacraments of initiation and the office of the authority of the bishop
WHICH IS REMARKABLE!!
It developed in two different ways in the East and the West
Paragraph 1292 says, “The practice of the Eastern Churches gives greater emphasis to the unity of Christian initiation. That of the Latin Church more clearly expresses the communion of the new Christian with the bishop as a guarantor and servant of the unity, catholicity, and apostolicity of his Church, and hence the connection with the apostolic origin of Christ’s Church.”
It’s a difference in emphasis
THEY ARE BOTH BEAUTIFUL!!
THEY ARE BOTH ACCEPTABLE!!
THEY BOTH BEAR FRUIT IN ABUNDANT WAYS!!
They’re just different
What is it to be anointed?
What is it to use oil?
Fr. Mike has a relatively new bishop in his diocese
He’s been there for three years or so
He goes to his Masses for Holy Week and the Chrism Mass where he blesses that oil
Paragraph 1293 goes through all the uses of oil both in the Bible and in the ancient world
So what does oil do?
It is a sign of ABUNDANCE AND JOY
Scripture talks about how the oil on one’s head runs down into his beard in the collar of Aaron’s robes
This is the ANOINTING OIL OF THE PRIEST
It is a sign of ABUNDANCE AND JOY
Oil also CLEANSES
Before and after a bath, people used oil
In limbers so athletes and wrestlers warmed up their bodies with oil
Also it helps to fight better because you can’t get a grip on somebody when they’re covered in oil
It’s a sign of HEALING to soothe bruises and wounds
Oil makes radiant with beauty, health and strength
Think about moisturizer
It also has all these meanings in the sacramental life
Paragraph 1294 says, “Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramental life. The pre-baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens signifies cleansing and strengthening…”
Before a person is baptized, they are anointed with oil
That part of the rite talks about the transfer from being under the domain and dominion of the Evil One into the domain of the Lord
Paragraph 1294 continues, “...the anointing of the sick expresses healing and comfort. The post-baptismal anointing with sacred chrism in Confirmation and ordination is the sign of consecration…”
When a priest or bishop is ordained with the sacred chrism, they are CONSECRATED
They are SET APART FOR THIS TASK
It’s not just for priests and bishops to have that sign of consecration and anointing
IT IS ALSO FOR YOU!!
If you have been confirmed or if you are going to be confirmed, that anointing with sacred chrism in your Confirmation is a SIGN OF CONSECRATION
Baptism brings us INTO the life of God
Baptism brings us INTO a relationship with the Lord
Baptism brings us INTO the Body of Christ
CONFIRMATION SENDS US OUT INTO THE WORLD!!
Paragraph 1294 continues, “...By Confirmation Christians, that is, those who are anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled, so that their lives may give off ‘the aroma of Christ.’”
YOU HAVE BEEN COMMISSIONED!!
If you have been confirmed, you have been commissioned to share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ
What is the mission of Jesus Christ?
Jesus makes it pretty clear in the Gospel of John
Jesus breathes on the Apostles and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
He gives the Apostles the ability to forgive sins
AS THE FATHER SENT ME SO NOW I SEND YOU!!
ALL Christians share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled
This means that in a similar way that Jesus had spoken to the Apostles, He speaks to every person who is being confirmed…
AS THE FATHER SENT ME SO NOW I SEND YOU!!
So what was Jesus’ mission?
Jesus’ mission was to BRING HOPE TO A WORLD IN DARKNESS
Jesus’ mission was to BRING GRACE TO A WORLD THAT DID NOT KNOW GRACE
Jesus’ mission was to BRING FORGIVENESS TO PEOPLE THAT NEEDED FORGIVENESS
Jesus’ mission was to BRING TRUTH TO THOSE WHO WERE IGNORANT OF TRUTH
Jesus’ mission was to BRING CONVICTION TO THOSE WHO NEEDED TO BE CONVICTED
Jesus brought both JUSTICE AND MERCY
Jesus brought both FAITH AND GRACE
Jesus brought both the CONVICTION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AND THE HEALING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
If that is what Jesus mission was, and you are confirmed, then that is what you are called to do as well
Paragraph 1295 says, “By this anointing the confirmand receives the ‘mark,’ the seal of the Holy Spirit. A seal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal authority, or ownership of an object.”
You have been CLAIMED BY THE LORD
Maybe your heart bristles at that
If it makes your heart bristle that God has put His mark on you, that is ok
Because that is what it MEANS
ALL OF US are called to walk in the Lord
ALL OF US are claimed
NONE OF US ARE OUR OWN ANYMORE!!
If we have been Baptized and Confirmed, none of us belong to ourselves anymore
WE BELONG TO HIM!!
There is something POWERFUL about acknowledging that and admitting that it is TRUE
YOUR LIFE IS NO LONGER YOUR OWN!!
YOUR TIME IS NO LONGER YOUR OWN!!
YOUR WILL IS MEANT TO BE CONFORMED TO HIS WILL BECAUSE GOD THE FATHER HAS CLAIMED YOU!!
You have been marked with a special seal in Baptism and Confirmation
St. Paul said, “He has put His seal on us and given us His Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. And the seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in His service forever, as well as His promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial.”
THAT IS WHAT IT MEANS!!
WE HAVE BEEN CLAIMED!!
It marks our total belonging to Christ
Our enrollment in His service forever
His promise of divine protection
HOLD ONTO THESE THREE THINGS!!
YOU HAVE BEEN CLAIMED!!
YOU HAVE BEEN SEALED!!
YOU HAVE BEEN ENROLLED!!
YOU TOTALLY TOTALLY BELONG TO CHRIST!!
You have been enrolled in His service FOREVER
He has promised divine protection FOR YOU in the great eschatological trial
HE HAS CLAIMED YOU!!
HE ALSO GETS TO BE CLAIMED BY YOU!!
That is part of the GREAT NEWS OF OUR LORD JESUS
WHAT AN INCREDIBLE GIFT!!
Sometimes it is a challenge
We need God’s grace to accept the challenge
We need God’s grace to accept His message
So we need to pray for each other
Fr. Mike keeps forgetting to remind you to pray for each other
We are in this together
We are in this LIFE together
We are in this CHURCH together
So let’s keep PRAYING FOR EACH OTHER
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!