The Church's Year
ON THE TUESDAY AFTER PENTECOST
of the Mass is:
the joy of your glory, allel.; giving thanks to God, allel.; who
hath called you to a heavenly kingdom, allel., allel., allel. (IV.
Esd. 2.) Attend, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the
words of my mouth. (Ps. LXXVII.)
Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that the power of the Holy Ghost
may be ever present with us to purify our hearts from sin, and to
defend us from all adversity. Thro'.
(Acts VIII. 14-17) In those days, when the apostles that
were in Jerusalem had heard that Samaria had received the word of
God, they sent unto them Peter and John. Who, when they were come,
prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: for he
was not as yet come upon any of them, but they were only baptized
in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them
and they received the Holy Ghost.
Confirmation a Sacrament?
YES, for it
has the three marks of a Sacrament: the visible sign, the invisible
sanctifying grace, and institution by Christ.
Christ institute this Sacrament?
Christ is the
Author of this Sacrament as He is of all the others, with this difference
only, as St. Thomas of Aquin says, that He instituted this only
by promise, for it was necessary that He should die, should rise
from the dead, and ascend into heaven (John XVI. 7.) before giving
the fulness of the Holy Ghost, in which consists the proper effect
of this Sacrament. This according to the tradition of the Fathers,
is the doctrine of the infallible Church. Thus St. Clement, a disciple
of the apostles, writes that St. Peter taught him, and that the
other apostles had also announced it, in accordance with the command
of the Lord. That the apostles administered this Sacrament by Christ's
command, is clear from the Acts of the Apostles (viii. i4?z7.) which
state, that Peter and John laid their hands upon the newly baptized
at Samaria, and prayed over them, thus imparting to them the gifts
of the Holy Ghost, which St. Paul also did to the baptized at Ephesus.
(Acts XIX. 5, 6.)
is the visible sign in confirmation?
of the bishop's hands, the anointing with holy chrism, and the words:
N. N., I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and confirm thee
with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father, &c."
graces are received in this Sacrament?
gives to those who have been baptized, the Holy Ghost with the plenitude
of His gifts, and thus completes the grace of baptism; for which
reason confirmation is also called by the holy Fathers: "Completion,"
"Sealing." It especially gives strength to profess the
faith firmly, and to live in accordance with it, and is therefore
called Confirmation from the Latin confirmare, to strengthen, to
confirm; it elevates man, who has by baptism become a child of God,
to the dignity of a soldier of Christ, enrolls him as a warrior
under the banner of the cross, imprints upon him an indelible mark,
and thus distinguishes him from those who have been baptized, but
not confirmed, and can therefore be received but once.
has power to administer confirmation?
ministers of this Sacrament are the bishops only; for according
to the Acts of the Apostles (VIII. 16.) only the apostles and their
successors who are bishops, can impart the Holy Ghost by imposition
is the holy chrism which the bishop uses in confirmation?
The holy chrism
which Christ commanded to be used in confirmation, consists of balsam
and olive?oil mixed, and signifies the plenitude of grace which
comes down from Christ through the Holy Ghost upon those to be confirmed;
the balsam represents the good odor of the edifying life which those
confirmed should lead, as said by the apostle: We are a good odor
of Christ; (II Cor. II. 15.) the balsam also indicates, that as
the bodies of the dead are preserved from corruption when embalmed
with it, so the soul by the heavenly grace obtained in confirmation,
is preserved from the infection of sin.
Why is the forehead anointed with chrism in the form of a cross?
To remind the
Christian that he is never to be deterred by either shame or fear
from the public acknowledgment of the name of Jesus, but must fight
valiantly as a true soldier of Christ, under the banner of the cross,
against all the enemies of his salvation.
does the bishop impose his hands upon those to be confirmed?
that the actual imparting of the Holy Ghost is taking place, (Heb.
VI. 2.) and that the person confirmed is placed under God's special
prayers are said by the bishop while he imposes his hands upon those
to be confirmed?
repeats the following prayers: Almighty, eternal God, who halt deigned
to regenerate these Thy servants by water and the Holy Ghost, who
hast also granted them the remission of all their sins, pour out
from heaven the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit, Thy Paraclete.
of wisdom and understanding. Amen.
of counsel and of fortitude. Amen.
of knowledge and of piety. Amen.
Fill them with
the spirit of fear towards Thee, and sign them with the sign, of
the cross of Christ, granting them eternal life, through the same
Jesus Christ, our Lord, who with Thee in the unity of, the same
God,, the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth for all, eternity. Amen.
does the bishop ask especially for the spirit of the fear of the
filial fear of the Lord is the foundation of all good, the beginning
of all wisdom, the fountain of life, and gains for him who possesses
it eternal happiness. (Ps. CXI. 1.)
does the bishop give those confirmed a slight blow on the cheek?
To remind them
that like Christ and the apostles, they must courageously bear all
adversities and persecutions for the holy faith, and thus obtain
that true peace which the bishop wishes them.
do the sponsors lay their right hand on the shoulder of the one
to be confirmed?
To show that
they are witnesses of the renewal of his faith; that they will exhort
him, when necessary, to preserve the faith; that they will walk
before him in the true .path of virtue by good example. (In regard
to the spiritual affinity arising from confirmation, see the instruction
concerning baptism on the feast of the Holy Trinity.)
confirmation necessary for salvation?
It is not absolutely
necessary for salvation, but he who having the opportunity would
neglect to receive it, would commit a grievous sin, even a mortal
sin, because he openly shows by this, that he has no regard for
the assistance of the Holy Ghost: Baptism lays the foundation for
the Christian religion, but confirmation crowns the work baptism
has commenced, because in confirmation, as the Roman Catechism teaches,
the form of a true Christian is perfected.
is required of those who are to be confirmed?
They must be
in the state of grace, or purified by a good confession from the
sins committed after baptism, for, to receive this Sacrament while
in mortal sin, would be a sacrilege; they should be well instructed
in the truths of faith, especially in those relating to confirmation;
they should have a sponsor or witness who has been confirmed; they
should arouse in themselves a great desire for the gifts of the
Holy Ghost; they should receive the Sacrament with great reverence
and devotion, and while being confirmed should make the resolution
to become and remain henceforth true, zealous Catholics; finally,
those who are to be confirmed, should never forget that they must
be present from the first imposition of hands by the bishop, because
this is the especial signs to which the granting of the gifts of
the Holy Ghost is annexed. It is seen from all this, that it is
not advisable to allow infants to be confirmed, because they do
not know what they receive, nor can they be properly prepared, and
they can be saved even if they die without confirmation.
should be done after receiving confirmation?
should remain in church some time, and thank the Holy Ghost for
the graces received; renew the promise to serve God faithfully henceforth,
and to preserve the faith. They should daily show themselves, by
an edifying life, to be true Catholic Christians, and thus add to
the truth that unbelievers may also see the fruits of confirmation,
and learn to love and respect a Church, that gives such glorious
gifts to her children.
[To be said often during the year.]
I thank Thee,
O Holy Ghost, that Thou bast given me Thy grace in the Sacrament
of Confirmation to strengthen me against all temptations and persecutions,
and I most humbly beseech Thee that by Thy inward inspirations Thou
mayst continually so urge me on, that in all the dangers to my salvation,
I may faithfully cooperate with the graces I have received, and
never from fear or false shame transgress the commandments of God
and the Church. Let me die rather than ever offend Thee, O Holy
Ghost, or refuse to heed Thy inspirations, or drive Thee from me
by mortal sin. Amen.