The Sacrament of Confirmation
Confirmation is the sacrament of Christian maturity, which gives us the ability to live our adult faith. Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
- It roots us more deeply in the divine filtration 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 Catechism of the Catholic Church #1303
Confirmation gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit by which we are obliged to spread and defend the faith. To live our faith is not our own work, but rather we receive power from God to be a true witness for Christ. By Confirmation, we are anointed and receive a permanent mark or seal that identifies us belonging to Jesus Christ. The words "Be sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit" tell us that Confirmation increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit within us and makes us more open to the Spirit's actions and prompting.
These gifts are Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Fortitude (courage), Counsel (right judgment), Piety, and Holy Fear in God's Presence (wonder and awe) (Isaiah 11: 2-3). By living in accord with the Holy Spirit, we experience the spiritual fruits: Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Long-suffering, Mildness, Fortitude, Modesty, Contingency, and Charity. (Gal. 5:22).
"Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian toward a more intimate union with Christ and more lively familiarity with the Holy Spirit - his actions, his gifts, and his biddings - in order to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian life. To this end catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as well as the parish community. The latter bears special responsibility for the preparation of confirmands."
"To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of grace. One should receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of the Holy Spirit. More intense prayer should prepare one to receive the strength and graces of the Holy Spirit with docility and readiness to act." - The Catechism of the Catholic Church #1309, #1310