Out of the seven sacraments, the one that may be the least understood is the sacrament of Confirmation. Even many Catholics who have been confirmed in the Church don’t understand what happens in this sacrament.
To help clarify and explain the grace and power that comes from Confirmation, Fr. Matthew Spencer, OSJ recently discussed this sacrament on St. Joseph’s Workshop, saying, “When you look at the paragraphs in the Catechism on Confirmation, it becomes really clear that while Baptism is equipping you with something completely new, Confirmation is a strengthening within you of what you already have.”
Fr. Matthew pointed out that the confusion surrounding Confirmation is that some may think it is unnecessary. If you participate in the life of the Trinity through your Baptism and the Holy Eucharist, why the need for Confirmation? Do we only get a little bit of the Holy Spirit in our Baptism, and in Confirmation we get more? Fr. Matthew affirmed that while we do receive the Holy Spirit in Baptism, through Confirmation we receive the Holy Spirit in a new, fresh, and beautiful way.
Using the Catechism of the Catholic Church as his reference, Fr. Matthew explained the effects of Confirmation, and the power the sacrament has in our Christian life. He said that it:
Roots Us in Our Identity as Sons and Daughters of the Father
Confirmation roots us more deeply in the divine filiation, which makes us cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ That is to say, it roots us more deeply in our sonship and our daughtership. It makes us more aware, more deeply connected to that reality that we have a Father in heaven.
Unites Us More Firmly to Christ
When we get connected to the Holy Spirit we come to be more connected to the Most Holy Trinity. That’s why Confirmation also unites us more firmly to Christ. Just as we are united more closely to our Father in heaven, though the gift of the Holy Spirit poured upon us and renewed in us in the sacrament of Confirmation, we are united more firmly to Christ Himself.
Increases the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Some of the most powerful manifestations of the sacrament of Confirmation we see is that it increases the gifts which come from the Holy Spirit within us. So while the Holy Spirit remains in you, and while the Holy Spirit is strengthened in us through the gift of Confirmation, the practical concrete effects that we can see very clearly is that the fruits and the gifts of the Holy Spirit inside us are increased, are multiplied.
How much the world needs this! I mean, how much you and I need to be demonstrating those gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit to the world. Our world needs the Spirit right now. It needs the gifts that come from receiving the Spirit.
Perfects Our Bond with the Catholic Church
One of the other effects of Confirmation is that it renders our bond with the Church more perfect. And this is really special, because while you and I become part of the Church through Baptism, we become incorporated into the Body of Christ in Baptism, through the sacrament of Confirmation that bond becomes more perfect. So your role becomes more clear.
Let’s appreciate our Confirmation. What a blessing we have, not only in Baptism and in the Most Holy Eucharist, these sublime sacraments and blessings we’ve received, but also in the gift of Confirmation that we received.
Listen to the full reflection below: