The Sacraments p. 3

This series on the Sacraments is inspired by the concern these days that we are “trying to live without the Sacraments.” While it is true that we are unable to be in church and participate in the Mass as we are accustomed to doing, it is just as true that we are, by no means, trying to live without the Sacraments. The God-given grace in each of these seven “outward signs instituted by Christ” is powerful and effective. The real challenge that we are facing today is “how to live these Sacraments” as best we can and quit thinking that we are somehow trying to do this on our own, without them!

Confirmation is seen in some circles as a sort of “graduation” from the Catholic Faith, as if there’s nothing left to learn, nothing left to do, and nothing left to commit oneself to. But of course, this is silly. Confirmation is a Sacrament of Initiation (along with Baptism and the Eucharist), therefore it is only the beginning. Confirmation fortifies baptismal grace, it binds us more perfectly to the Church, and  it gives us a special strength to spread and defend the Faith, both by word and by deed, as true witnesses of Christ. This Sacrament also calls us to radically reorient our lives towards Jesus. This already happened at our baptism, but with that grace now strengthened, we are encouraged to have a renewed desire to live with, for, and in Christ.

What are some practical things we can do? Speak out against evil wherever we find it. Constantly do whatever we do for the spiritual welfare of others. Be joyful , trusting that all things will work out according to God’s plan. Have a loving attitude toward all with whom we come in contact, especially for those who are otherwise alone. Be ready to defend our Faith in word, deed, and association. Bring happiness where there is strife. Be ready to advise others what to do in a spiritual difficulty (making sure the advice is sound).

Confirmation completes or “confirms” Baptism by sealing us with the Holy Spirit. Therefore it calls us to a deeper relationship with God. Specifically, it calls us to participate in the divine life by participating in the mission of Jesus. This participation in the divine life is helped by gathering for the celebration of the Mass week after week, but it is not something beyond our grasp just because we cannot do so in the traditional way right now. The point, again, is that we are not trying to live without the Sacraments in this time of pandemic. In fact, we are now experiencing new ways to do what we have been called to do from the beginning. When we use the spiritual gifts given in Confirmation to serve others, we are actually deepening our intimacy with God. We are participating in God’s love and goodness for others because, through these gifts, God willingly works through us.

From the Rite of Confirmation: “The promised strength of the Holy Spirit, which you are to receive, will make you more like Christ and help you to be witnesses to His suffering, death, and resurrection. It will strengthen you to be active members of the Church and to build up the Body of Christ in faith and love.

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who brought these your servants to new birth by water and the Holy Spirit, freeing them from sin: send upon them, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete; give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and fortitude, the spirit of knowledge and piety; fill them with the spirit of awe in your presence. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

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