we saw what happens during the rite of Confirmation. This week, let’s wrap it up.
We started off by looking at the Gifts of the Spirit
. I think everyone learns about the Gifts of the Spirit when they prepare for Confirmation.
I’m not sure about you, but I sometimes find it hard to make sense of those Gifts. It seems to me that they are gifts; I don’t have much control over whether I have them or not.
That’s why I like the Fruits of the Spirit.
St. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, mentions the Fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Galatians 5:22). For me, these are much easier to understand because I know I can “do” them. I don’t have to wait for a feeling: I can do joy, I can love, I can be gentle and kind and patient and self-controlled. I can wake up in the morning and decide to do these things. I can wake up in the morning and say, “Today I am going to be more joyful.” Or, “Today I will try extra hard to be patient, kind, or gentle.” These are more doable.
Since Confirmation is about being mature Christians, maybe that’s what it means to be mature!
In a nutshell: What does it mean to be confirmed? It means to be a mature Christian.
Confirmation is about living out our Faith. It’s about living the life of Christ. This means you have to use the Gifts of the Spirit and live out the Fruits of the Spirit. It means searching daily for what God wants you to do.
For this we receive Graces. Remember that Grace is received with every Sacrament.
In Confirmation we receive several Graces:
• It is a deepening of Baptismal Grace;
• It roots us more deeply in the divine family;
• 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; and
• It gives us strength to confess the name of Christ boldly and never to be ashamed of the Cross (CCC#1303)
These Graces help us live out our lives as we journey towards God in Heaven.
Another way to think of the Graces of each Sacrament is to think of them as the “effects” of the Sacrament. What effect does that Sacrament have in my life?
It’s the same with all Sacraments, but with Confirmation, I think there’s a special movement. It’s like falling in love. When it happens, you act upon it. So many of us never live out our Baptismal call. That means that for many of us our Baptism does nothing except plant a little seed that never gets to grow.
That is why the Church tells us that we have to live out the Sacraments. I have received these Graces at Confirmation, but I still have to choose to be gentle and kind. I have to choose to act with self-control. I have to choose joy.
The Good News is that having the strength of the Gifts of the Spirit makes those choices easier.
But I still have to choose.
Receiving the Sacrament is just the beginning. Each Sacrament has three parts: the preparation, the celebration, and what I call the “live-outness” of the Sacrament. Because each Sacrament calls us to something.
This means that we need to be disposed. We need to be open to the idea that Christ is present (as He is made present every time we live out any Sacrament). If you are disposed and open, you will encounter Him.
At Confirmation we receive God’s strength so that we can have the ability to witness and act as mature Christians. If we are willing to accept that call and are open to encounter Christ, who has promised to be with us, we will find that we have all the tools, all the Graces, we need in order to live out our Faith.
That's what it means to be a mature Christian!
This post is the conclusion of a 5-part series on Confirmation. Read all of them:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
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