For me, one of the more confusing Sacraments, was Confirmation. My question was, “What does Confirmation, confirm?”
Let’s go to the Catechism:
THE SACRAMENT OF CONFIRMATION
1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the "sacraments of Christian initiation," whose unity must be safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the 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."
Ok, now let’s break it down.
It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.
First, the Sacrament of Confirmation completes the reception of baptismal grace. If it completes this grace, then it confirms this grace. In other words, it ensures that we have received it to the maximum amount.
That’s great, but what is baptismal grace?
Baptismal grace is the grace you receive in baptism. Ha ha! Gotya!
Let’s go to Scripture for the answer to that question:
Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”
Basically, then, Baptismal grace means:
1. Our sins are washed away.
2. We receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
So, Confirmation confirms that our sins are washed away and that we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
So, let’s go back to Paragraph 1285, For "by the sacrament of Confirmation,:
1. [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church
This has to be unpacked, because there are several things left for granted.
a. Whenever one’s sins are washed away, one is more perfectly bound to God. Baptism is an act of reconciliation with God.
b. At the same time, when our sins are washed away, we are more perfectly bound to the body of Christ. Our brethren. The Church is the body of Christ. And we become members of the Body, when we are washed of our sins by the Holy Spirit.
c. The Church is the body of Christ and Christ is God. So, when we are washed clean of sins, we are more perfectly attached to God, through the body of Christ. We are more perfectly united to God, through His Church.
Thus, the Sacrament of Reconciliation also confirms our union with God through the body of Christ.
2. and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit.
As you know, when we are baptized, we become Temples of the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us. But what is this “special strength” of the Holy Spirit? For the answer to this, I’d like to take you to the Mass.
We are conscripts, enlisted in God’s army
Lift up your hearts! We lift them up to the Lord!
Its called the Sursum Corda (Lifted heart). And it is originally a military chant. Back in the days of the Roman army, when conscripts were enlisted in the army, they made a pledge to Caesar and confirmed it by lifting their swords unto him. This was their pledge to defend Caesar with their lives.
In the Roman Catholic army, we don’t lift up our swords, we lift up our hearts unto our Lord, which is Christ. This is our pledge, which we make every Sunday, that we have given our lives to Him.
The Sacrament of Confirmation, confirms, that we receive the “special strength” of the Holy Spirit, to give our lives to Christ. And to spend them, for Him. Thus, it is said, that in Confirmation, we become soldiers of Christ.
And so we conclude paragraph 1285:
Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed."
Now, don’t say, “I can’t do it!” Yes, you can. You already do it. God made it very easy for us to do this. All you have to do, is this:
Husbands, love your wives. Wives love your husbands. This is how Scripture puts it:
Ephesians 5:The Christian Household
21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.
22 Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. 24 Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, 27 so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way, husbands should love their wives as they do their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the church. 33 Each of you, however, should love his wife as himself, and a wife should respect her husband.
We are not enlisted into an army that fights with swords. We are enlisted in an army that conquers with their hearts.
Therefore, since the Sacrament of Confirmation has confirmed you in His love, you should, in turn, confirm your love for Him, in your hearts.
Lift up your hearts!