So there we have it!!
How incredible is this??
We have the sacred chrism that is consecrated by the bishop
In Eastern Churches, it is consecrated by the patriarch
Paragraph 1297 has a really beautiful prayer of the bishop over those who are confirmed
The bishop extends his hands over the whole group of confirmands
They come forward and he anoints their foreheads with the sacred chrism and says, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
In the Eastern Churches like the Byzantine rite, there is a lto more oil and in a lot more different parts of the body
The anointing is the key part
In the Eastern Church the English translation of the Greek is, “The seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Then there is the sign of peace
Do you remember your own Confirmation?
The bishop anointed your forehead and said, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. Peace be with you.”
Paragraph 1301 talks about the SIGN OF PEACE that concludes the rite of the sacrament
It signifies and demonstrates ECCLESIAL COMMUNION WITH THE BISHOP AND WITH THE FAITHFUL
WHICH IS PRETTY REMARKABLE!!
Paragraphs 1303 through 1305 changed Fr. Mike’s life
Fr. Mike was confirmed the year before The Catechism was promulgated in English
The people who taught him about Confirmation said, “You get the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
So that’s wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, piety, fear of the Lord, courage, and fortitude
Fr. Mike wondered what it all meant and what was going to happen
The year after he was confirmed, The Catechism was released
Paragraph 1303 talks about the FIVE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION
Paragraph 1303 says, “From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace: -it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, ‘Abba! Father!’; -it unites us more firmly to Christ; -it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us; -it renders our bond with the Church more perfect; -it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross…”
The FIFTH EFFECT is broken down into a couple of parts
To spread and defend the Faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ
Remember Acts Ch 2 what did Jesus say?
Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses.”
Confirmation gives us a SPECIAL STRENGTH OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
To do what?
TO SPREAD AND DEFEND THE FAITH BY WHAT YOU SAY AND WHAT YOU DO AS A TRUE WITNESS OF JESUS CHRIST!!
How incredible is that??
That is the gift that was poured out on you in the sacrament of Confirmation
The second part is to confess the name of Christ BOLDLY
Imagine what it would be like if we actually did this
If that was how we actually lived
The third part is NEVER TO BE ASHAMED OF THE CROSS
What if these three things were common?
What if this was what we actually said yes to?
IT WOULD LIGHT A FIRE!!
Hopefully it lights a fire in YOU
Paragraph 1305 says, “This ‘character’ perfects the common priesthood of the faithful, received in Baptism, and ‘the confirmed person receives the power to profess the faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially (quasi ex officio).’”
Here YOU are
YOU are baptized and brought into the priesthood of the faithful
YOU share in Christ’s priesthood in this way
YOU are a kingdom priest
This character, this indelible spiritual mark, PERFECTS that common priesthood
Do you realize that because YOU have been confirmed that YOU actually are an OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CHURCH?
YOU have been given the power to PROFESS FAITH IN CHRIST PUBLICLY AND OFFICIALLY as an official representative of the Catholic Church
A REPRESENTATIVE OF JESUS CHRIST!!
YOU MUST PROFESS CHRIST PUBLICLY!!
Do we profess faith in Christ publicly, or is our faith something that is private?
Those close to us may know that God is important to us
Which is great
We were not merely given the sacrament of Confirmation
The Holy Spirit was not poured out onto us and into our hearts so that we could practice our Faith QUIETLY IN OUR OWN HOMES
We were not given the sacrament of Confirmation to keep our Faith PRIVATE
YOU were given the sacrament of Confirmation so that YOU could be someone who SPREADS AND DEFENDS THE FAITH BY WORD AND ACTION AS TRUE WITNESSES OF JESUS
YOU have the power to profess faith in Christ PUBLICLY and OFFICIALLY
YOU have been given the gift to NEVER BE ASHAMED OF THE CROSS
YOU have been given the gift to CONFESS THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST BOLDLY
So YOU have to ask yourself a question (several, actually 😉)
When was the last time you confessed the name of Jesus Christ boldly?
When was the last time you were ashamed of the Cross?
Do you ever downplay the fact that you are a Catholic Christian?
When was the last time that you said it was someone else’s job?
Yes you go to Mass
Yes you pray
But it’s someone else’s job to spread the Faith?
YOU have received the power to profess the Faith in Christ PUBLICLY AND OFFICIALLY
YOU are an OFFICIAL REPRESENTATIVE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
There are SO MANY CONSEQUENCES of this
One of them is that the Church needs to do X
Well, more Catholics need to do Y
Which Catholics need to do more Y?
WE ALL DO!!
This is not meant to be grumpy
This is meant to be said in the most positive, excited, and joyful way
THIS IS WHAT HAS BEEN GIVEN TO US WHEN WE WERE CONFIRMED!!
Maybe you didn’t know
WE HAVE TO TAKE THIS DEEPLY INTO OUR HEARTS!!
“Ok God, how do you want me to do this?”
Maybe it means standing on a street corner, standing on that box, and saying you believe in Jesus
Maybe it means in your everyday life your job is to spread and defend the Faith by what you say and do as a true witness of Jesus
Jesus has given YOU the strength to confess His name boldly
Jesus has given YOU the grace to NEVER be ashamed of the Cross
How does Jesus want YOU to exercise those gifts?
How does Jesus want YOU to live that out now in your life?
IT IS NOT SOMEONE ELSE’S JOB!!
IT IS YOUR JOB!! (AND MY JOB!! 😁)
WHAT A GIFT!!
If we don’t use this gift, woe is us!!
Woe are all of us if we do not proclaim the Gospel
Jesus did not die for us so that we could simply keep it to ourselves
The love of God has not been poured out into our hearts so that we could not tell anybody but just keep our faith private
The love of God has been poured out into our hearts so that we can cry out, “Abba! Father!”
So that we can tell the world about the goodness of God
So we have to pray
That’s why we have to pray for each other
How often are we tempted to shrink back?
How often are we tempted to sell out our Lord by being quiet?
How many of us are Peter?
“I don’t know Him. I don’t know the man. I don’t know what you’re talking about.” (This is incredibly convicting…wow…. 😞)
WE DO NOT WANT TO BE PETER (in that way)
We want to be Peter after he falls and comes back
We want to be Peter who’s STRONG
We want to be Peter who’s BOLD
Too often, we are Peter who’s AFRAID to be identified as someone who is a friend of Jesus
SO LET US PRAY!!
Fr. Mike is praying FOR YOU!!
Please pray for Fr. Mike and for each other!!
I cannot WAIT to see you tomorrow!!