Confirmation Ignites You
[Y]ou will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth — Acts 1:8.
Last time, we talked about how we become what we eat through the Eucharist if our hearts are open to the power and presence of God. This month, we'll take a look at how Confirmation gives us the graces we need to catch fire with the life and love of God.
Confirmation may be the most underappreciated, least lived Sacrament of the Church. Many people have no idea why we have it or what it does; many others treat it as "graduation" from religious education. Sometimes, it's the last time Catholics darken a church door.
And yet Confirmation is awesome. In a certain sense, the Sacrament of Confirmation "perpetuates the grace of Pentecost in the Church" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1288). And Pentecost was such an important event that Jesus actually told His Apostles, "But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send Him to you" (Jn 16:7).
Ponder that for a moment. It is better for us all that Jesus ascend to the right hand of the Father and not walk visibly with us on earth, because then He can send us the Paraclete (or Advocate), the Holy Spirit. Why? Because it is the Holy Spirit who dwells within us and draws us into communion with God and man, making us sons in the Son of God and heirs of eternal, divine life. The Holy Spirit sanctifies us, empowers us, teaches us to pray, gives life to the whole Body of Christ, and does signs and wonders through us.
When we have the Holy Spirit, we have the strength of God to empower our deeds, the wisdom of God to guide our minds, and the love of God to inflame our hearts.
As the Catechism explains, "[T]he Sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For 'by the Sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed'" (1285).
So Confirmation seals us as Christians, marking us indelibly and completing baptismal grace. It prepares us to be witnesses to Jesus Christ, empowering us with the gifts of the Holy Spirit and individual charisms, or graces, to fulfill our vocation in life. And yet after receiving this Sacrament, all too many people never practice their faith again. That'd be like getting all dressed up for a long journey, buying provisions and getting transportation, planning your route and even setting off — only to ditch the journey after five minutes.
God is spectacularly generous to us, giving us the greatest of all possible gifts: Himself. We become children of the Father by receiving the self-gift of the Son, and through the Son, we are blessed by the indwelling and action of the Holy Spirit. We are given, not just everything, but the Source of everything. And so it is only natural that we give back to God. Of course we are called to "spread and defend the faith by word and deed" — such generosity deserves to be announced to the world! And a decent love for our neighbor should compel us to spread the news of the love and generosity of God as far as possible so that many more can receive the blessings bestowed by the God who is Love.
Next time, we'll look at what happens if we are faithful to the graces given through the Sacraments and obedient to God out of love.
Spirituality of the Immaculate Heart
Mary Pondered in Her Heart
The Heart of The Matter
Temples of the Holy Spirit
From Sons to Slaves
Baptism Saves You
Confession Resurrects You
Eucharist Nourishes You
Confirmation Ignites You
Through Darkness Into Light
Mary, Mother of Christians
Salt. Light. Hope.