A sacrament in which the Holy Ghost is given to those already baptized in order to make them strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ.
It has been variously designated: bebaiosis or confirmatio, a making fast or sure; teleiosis or consummatio, a perfecting or completing, as expressing its relation to baptism. With reference to its effect it is the "Sacrament of the Holy Ghost", the "Sacrament of the Seal" (signaculum, sigillum, sphragis). From the external rite it is known as the "imposition of hands" (epithesis cheiron), or as "anointing with chrism" (unctio, chrismatio, chrisma, myron). The names at present in use are, for the Western Church, confirmatio, and for the Greek, to myron.
In the Western Church the sacrament is usually administered by the bishop. At the beginning of the ceremony there is a general imposition of hands, the bishop meantime praying that the Holy Ghost may come down upon those who have already been regenerated: "send forth upon them thy sevenfold Spirit the Holy Paraclete." He then anoints the forehead of each with chrism saying: "I sign thee with the sign of the cross and confirm thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." Finally. he gives each a slight blow on the cheek saying: "peace be with thee". A prayer is added that the Holy Spirit may dwell in the hearts of those who have been confirmed, and the rite closes with the bishop's blessing.
The Eastern Church omits the imposition of hands and the prayer at the beginning, and accompanies the anointing with the words: "the sign [or seal] of the gift of the Holy Ghost." These several actions symbolize the nature and purpose of the sacrament: the anointing signifies the strength given for the spiritual conflict; the balsam contained in the chrism, the fragrance of virtue and the good odor of Christ; the sign of the cross on the forehead, the courage to confess Christ, before all men; the imposition of hands and the blow on the cheek, enrollment in the service of Christ which brings true peace to the soul. (Cf. St. Thomas, III:72:4).
Confirmation can be conferred only on those who have already been baptized and have not yet been confirmed. As St. Thomas says:
Confirmation is to baptism what growth is to generation. Now it is clear that a man cannot advance to a perfect age unless he has first been born; in like manner, unless he has first been baptized he cannot receive the Sacrament of Confirmation (ST III:72:6).
They should also be in the state of grace; for the Holy Ghost is not given for the purpose of taking away sin but of conferring additional grace.
It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.
From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace:
Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God's presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts.
Community of Hope offers Confirmation Retreats, we'll come to you and witness to your youth the Truth of the Church and hopefully inspire them to change their lives and serve the Lord!
Please visit our Retreat Page or give us a call (978) 455-9788.