From the Desk of Fr. Underwood:
The Misunderstood Sacrament - Confirmation: Some of the first conversations I ever had regarding the Sacrament of Confirmation were with high-school freshman who were quickly approaching their reception of this sacrament. Whenever they were asked to define Confirmation in their own words, it was shocking how far off from each other their definitions were.
Some claimed it was the point when, since their parents chose Catholicism for them, they could choose whether they would be Catholic (or not). Others stated that it was when they confirmed their faith. A few got closer to a definition when they acknowledged the strong connection to Baptism.
It broke my heart how misunderstood this precious sacrament really was. Very rarely did I hear Confirmation described as a gift of God - a place where God specifically chose to distribute His grace. Not once did the students mention the Gifts or the Fruits of the Holy Spirit.
I wish I would have heard from them more statements about Confirmation like those found in the Catholic Catechism [CCC 1316-17]. Statements like:
- Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace.
- It is the sacrament which gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine filiation (‘being a child
- It incorporates us more firmly into Christ.
- It strengthens our bond with the Church.
- It associates us more closely with her mission.
- It helps us bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.
- Confirmation, like Baptism, imprints a spiritual mark or indelible character on the Christian's soul.
Confirmation is truly a beautiful Sacrament, where the gift of the Holy Spirit is imparted to us to help us be faithful disciples of Christ. It gives us the spiritual strength to live and defend the truth of Christ. And, through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, enables us to bear fruit in the world.
Confirmation has its beautiful origin in Christ, who (as our Creed states, “with the Father”) sent the Holy Spirit to descend upon the Apostles. And, this Sacrament continues to come alive because of the diligent work of the Apostles:
“Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:14-17).
Please join with me in praying for those who are receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation this Weekend at a special 2:30 Sunday Confirmation Mass. Congratulations and may God bless our Confirmandi!
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth.
O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, through Christ Our Lord. Amen