we saw that Confirmation is not just about being mature enough to know that we want to be Catholic, and we reviewed the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, but we didn’t really explain what Confirmation is really about.
Perhaps now is the time to speak about Pentecost.
You can’t talk about confirmation without sharing the story of Pentecost.
The disciples were scared. They thought they were next to be killed. Jesus told them that he would send his Spirit to be with them. Then they were gathered together for the feast of Pentecost, which is a harvest feast.
“Suddenly from Heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the spirit gave them ability.” (Acts 2:2-4)
The disciples were not afraid anymore. In fact, it was just after that Peter gave his first evangelizing speech. (Acts 2:14-41)
In a way, this is what happens at Confirmation.
We receive the Spirit as the disciples did at Pentecost.
But, you may ask, don’t we receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism? Why are we receiving it twice?
This is how we explained it at Confirmation retreats when I was in youth ministry: At birth you get a glass of milk. At baptism, you get a squirt of chocolate syrup, which all sinks to the bottom because it’s not stirred. But, at Confirmation you get a spoon so that you can stir your milk. Confirmation is kind of like that. You receive the spirit when you are baptised, but it’s at Confirmation that we receive the Spirit in a way that we can use it.
We can say that Confirmation is a completion of Baptism.
Another way to see it is that the Gift of the Holy Spirit is there from Baptism, but around the time we are confirmed we begin living it more and more (or we can begin to live it more and more, or we need to begin to live it more and more).
But it’s hard, because most of us don’t feel anything at Confirmation – we don’t start speaking in tongues or anything like that.
But that doesn’t mean that the Spirit wasn’t received. You may not see the fruits or gifts of the Spirit for a while. But they are there ready to be used when we need them. And we will need them because we are no longer little children. As we grow and become more mature, we have more responsibilities and choices to make. We need help to be adults!
And Christ has promised to be with us as we grow into mature Christians!
We still need to explain what Confirmation is all about. Come back next week so we can understand a bit more about the why of Confirmation.
This post is part 2 of a 5-part series on Confirmation. Read all of them:
Part 1, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
Image: Pentecost by Jean II Restout (1692–1768).
Every week, Deacon Pedro takes a particular topic apart, not so much to explore or explain the subject to its fullness, but rather to provide insights that will deepen our understanding of the subject. And don’t worry, at the end of the day he always puts the pieces back together. There are no limits to deaconstructing: Write to him and ask any questions about the faith or Church teaching: firstname.lastname@example.org