The Sacrament of Confirmation
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The character of Confirmation gives us the power to be soldiers in Christ’s army, fighting with him against the enemies of the faith.
The character of Confirmation gives us the power to be soldiers in Christ’s army, fighting with him against the enemies of the faith.
We do not fight against persons, but for them, as an army of liberation to free them from the enemies of their soul.
This is lesson number 25, the Sacrament of Confirmation
Hello everybody, I want to welcome you back to another lesson of All About My Catholic Faith. If this is the first time that you've joined this podcast, I want to thank you and welcome you, and if you've been here before, then also a very big thank you. If you need to go back and review some of the previous lessons, you can do that by looking In the archives where you get your podcast or you can go to our website, All About My Catholic Faith.com were you’ll find all the past episodes and lessons for this catechism series.
I'm so thankful to be joined by my son Christopher again this week.
Last week we started the series on the Sacraments by talking about Baptism, and remember Baptism is the gateway to all of the other Sacraments of the Church. In order to receive any of the other Sacraments, you must first receive the Sacrament of Baptism. If you remember from last week's lesson, on Baptism we are born again of water and of the Holy Spirit. This week we're going to talk about Confirmation. At Confirmation, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to grow from our infancy to adulthood in the life of Grace in the Church and gives us the strength of a soldier to fight for Jesus Christ.
That was a great lesson last week on Baptism and I really learned a lot so I'm looking forward to this week's lesson on Confirmation.
Before we get started I’d like to give you a few questions to think about as we go through the lesson alright? So the first question is:
What does the Holy Spirit do in our soul at Confirmation?
How does this differ from what he does in Baptism?
What two ceremonies of Confirmation reminds us that we have to bear crosses?
How do we fight in the army of Christ?
And the last question to think about is, Should we argue with non-Catholics about the faith?
If you keep listening to this lesson I will do my best to answer those and of course, Christopher, if you have any other questions for me during the lesson then feel free to ask away. All right.
All right, I will.
Let’s get into this lesson! I’d like to read a little from the Holy Bible. This first reading is going to be from St Luke's Gospel chapter 10, verses 1 through 20 and it's going to talk about when Jesus sent out 72 Disciples to teach and to talk about the Faith.
That's a great reading and one thing I pulled out of it was when Jesus told his disciples that they would be like lambs among the wolves. When we grow into adulthood in the Church, we often may feel like we are also lambs among wolves with people always attacking us for our Faith and also attacking the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, but you know it's understandable I guess, the Catholic Church is one of the most discriminated against groups in the entire world. And I believe, and I really know that the reason why is because the Catholic Church holds and teaches the truth to pure happiness. There are many people out there who just don't want to accept the truth in the way that Jesus taught and what the Catholic Church has taught for 2,000 years and continues to teach today.
We’re all called by our Baptism to be holy children of God and Confirmation is the Sacrament when the Holy Spirit will come to us in a special way that will enable has to profess our faith as strong and holy Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ. In this world, we need to be like soldiers, because again it’s only a matter of time before someone will confront you about your Catholic beliefs. It may not happen today, it may not happen tomorrow, but you can count on this, one day someone will confront you about your faith, and you have to be ready.
One of the most important things is for you to always love God as a soldier loves his country, and for you to be equipped to go into the world to spread your faith, to fight for the Church, and if needed die for Christ. If you remember in last week's lesson about Baptism, we talked about Baptism of Blood. Recall that’s when someone has died of martyrdom. Dying of martyrdom means that they stood up for the Faith and for Jesus even if it cost them their lives. There are many great examples of martyrs throughout the history who have refused to give in to the pressures of the world and they have stood fast for their Faith in Jesus and his Church, the Catholic Church.
I hope that you'll never need to be a martyr but as you'll see as we go through the lesson, Confirmation will give you that extra power to suffer and even die for the Church and for Jesus if you're ever called to do that.
How do you get Confirmed in the Catholic Church?
After you were baptized, remember for most Catholics that's done right after birth, you will continue to go through your life, learning about the Faith, going to the Mass with your parents, learning from your parents and from the priests, and perhaps even going to Catechism classes. After you reach at least the age of seven but sometimes older, a person in the western part of the Catholic Church can then receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
If you were baptized as an infant, remember that your parents spoke up and had you baptized so that you could become a Child of God and so that you could have original sin washed away from your soul. After you've learned about the faith, then there will come a time when you will want to stand up for yourself and say, Yes! I want to be a follower of Jesus and I want to continue to learn and spread the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church.
When that time comes, again usually sometime after you are seven years old or even up until you’re in high school, then it’s time for you to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. You may have to take a short series of classes to prepare for Confirmation, and that's all right because that will get you better prepared and help you to really determine that this is what you really want. Once those classes are complete, then you'll be ready to be confirmed in the Catholic Church. All those that have been preparing for Confirmation will go usually to the Cathedral in the diocese, but sometimes also in your local parish, and the bishop of the diocese will be there and will actually minister the Sacrament of Confirmation to all of those who are there to receive it.
The Bishop? That’s Cool!
I know! The bishop that confirmed me actually became a Cardinal in the Church a few years after my Confirmation.
Pentecost is the day that the Church started and that's when the Holy Spirit came down upon the Apostles and gave them strength and courage to go into the world to be teachers and followers of Jesus. In a similar way at Confirmation, the bishop will extend his hands over all those who are to be confirmed, and he will say a prayer that all those will receive the Holy
Spirit just like those Apostles did during Pentecost. He will then will lay his hands on the head of each of the persons who are to receive Confirmation and then he'll also anoint the forehead in the form of a cross with holy chrism which is holy oil.
While the bishop's anointing the person, he will say, “I sign you with the sign of the cross and I confirm you with the chrism of salvation in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” At that point, you have received the Sacrament of Confirmation. In order for the Sacrament to be fully active when you receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, you must be in a state of grace, which again means that you do not have any mortal sins on your soul. It's also very good not to have any venial sins on your soul at the time of Confirmation as well. So because of this, during your final preparations for Confirmation, just as when you prepared for your First Holy Communion, you will go to Confession. So, assuming that you went to Confession and you confessed all of your sins that you recalled, and then you receive the anointing at Confirmation, then you are now confirmed and are now a soldier of Christ, and you will now have the extra gift of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Let’s have a quick reading from the Bible from The Acts of the Apostles chapter 8, verses 14 through 17. This is when Peter and Paul went to Samaria to actually confirm those people there in Samaria who were Believers of Jesus but who had not yet had the special gift of the Holy Spirit come upon them.
Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who went down and prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for it had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit
So a question, before we continue, what is the holy chrism and where does it come from?
Well, this holy chrism is actually a mixture of olive oil and balm that was blessed by the bishop on Holy Thursday. Holy Thursday is the Thursday that is immediately before Easter Sunday. The bishop will bless this special oil on Holy Thursday and then this oil will be available for the special anointing during confirmation and for other things throughout the year.
In the ancient days, athletes, before they would go into a big competition, would often use oil to spread on their body to anoint their bodies in order to limber up their muscles and prepare them for the competition they were getting ready for. The oil that's used in the sacraments including Confirmation doesn't limber up your muscles but instead symbolizes strengthening of your soul.
I mentioned it briefly when I was talking about how the bishop confirms you but remember that the bishop will actually trace a cross on your forehead with the anointed oil.
What's that for?
The anointing is in the form of a cross because the strength that we receive during Confirmation is the extra strength from the Holy Spirit to bear our crosses for the love of God. You know we all have to be ready and willing to take up our cross and follow Jesus and even die for him if that's what we're called to do. Jesus told us all in the Bible that we must be ready to take up our cross and follow him.
Every time someone is confirmed, another person is added to the army of Jesus, and we are all carrying our cross behind Jesus so you can picture it like this: that Jesus is in the lead carrying his cross, his mother Mary is right behind him, and then St. Peter who was our first pope is followed by all the other popes in history, all the priests and nuns and deacons, and then, of course, your own family members, your father, and your mother and your brothers and sisters, and then finally you are there carrying your cross because now you have received the great and wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit during Confirmation.
I heard that the bishop will hit you in the face when you're in front of him during Confirmation, is that true?
That's not exactly true today but the bishop used to give each person that he confirmed just a slight blow on the cheek, and this was a good thing because it reminded that person that he must be ready to suffer everything, even death, for the sake of Jesus. And this little tap on the cheek was nothing in comparison to what a person may have to go through when they are confronted and have to defend Jesus and his Church. Things like that sometimes do change in the Church, but I think it would be great if we went back to the old way. Today, the bishop will just shake your hand as he gives you a wish of peace. Not really the same as it used to be! The Sacrament of Confirmation is still the same and has the same benefits though.
I’m certainly not here to scare anyone about what you may be faced as you grow older and need to defend your faith, but it is sadly a fact of life and we must all be prepared for that. You should continue after you've been confirmed to study the Catholic Faith and learn all that you can about Jesus and the Catholic Church. You should learn all you can about the Catholic Church not only for yourself but so that you can help others. You know, a Catholic who never tries to work for the conversion of non-Catholics or to help bad Catholics back to the Sacraments is the same as a soldier who lets the enemy win the battle without even putting up a fight.
You may think that fighting is a bad thing and you know, most the time it probably is, but it's not always a bad thing. So for example, if you see your sister being harassed by a bully and you basically ignore it and run away, then you have not really fought for your sister. You should, of course, instead fight for your sister because you don't want anything bad to happen to your sister even if it means that you put yourself in danger. If you see that a baby has fallen into a swimming pool and is about to drown then again you don't just walk away and turn away from the fight. No, you engage in the fight, you jump in the water and you do your best to save that child, again even if that means that you endanger your own safety by doing so.
Christopher, in the last lesson I remember that you asked me about whether I went to confession because I delayed getting you baptized until you were 7 years old. I told you that was a very personal question but since you are a follower of Jesus you should never be afraid to confront someone or ask someone out of pure love for them about their sinful ways. You should do this not to condemn a person, but again because if you truly love that person then you’ll want what is truly best for him and that he makes it to Heaven. In order for a person to make it to Heaven, they have to be part of the Catholic Church and they have to be an active participant in receiving the Sacraments on a regular basis. If you know someone who is not a Catholic or who is what we call a fallen-away Catholic or a cafeteria Catholic, then it’s your responsibility to help them back to the Sacraments so that they will be able to make it to Heaven one day. It's not doing them any good if you turn away and ignore their sinful lifestyle. Again you don't want to just turn away and let your sister be harassed by the bully and you don't want the baby to drown, so also you don't want those that are not living their full Catholic life to drown in sin or be harassed by the devil.
You can't very well explain the Faith, especially to intelligent non-Catholics, unless you know it well yourself, so every opportunity that you have you should try to learn something about your Catholic Faith. You can do that in a number of ways. You can take classes, you can learn online, you can go to the Internet, (you know these days that's such a wonderful thing), you can go to places like catholic.com and learn all kinds of things about the Catholic faith and as I said in an earlier lesson you can listen to Catholic radio such as Relevant Radio and there you can hear other people who are struggling with their Faith or who are trying to learn more about their Faith be taught by some of the greatest Catholic minds in the country.
As you continue to learn more and more about your Faith you will, of course, help yourself but you will also be able to help those around you learn more about the Faith. You know many non-Catholics actually inquire and actually join the Catholic Faith because of people like you who have learned their faith and live their Faith in a strong way every day. Wouldn’t it be great one day in heaven if someone came up to you, tapped you on your shoulder, and said, “one day I was watching you and hearing you talk about and living your faith and I decided to become Catholic at that point and now here I am in heaven with you, so I just wanted to give you a great big hug and giant thank you for living your faith in such a great way that inspired me to become a better person myself.”
Ya, I guess that would be pretty cool!
I know when we’re baptized we receive Sanctifying Grace, so when we’re confirmed, do we get anything new and special?
Well, yes indeed I'm glad you asked. Confirmation increases the Sanctifying Grace that you received during Baptism and it also gives you special Sacramental Grace and puts an imprint on your soul, that's called a character that will last forever. You may remember from a couple lessons ago when we did the introduction to the sacraments that the Sacramental Grace at Baptism will help you to live as a child of God and make it easier for you to believe in God and act accordingly. You’ll also get help not to commit evil or sin, and the Sacramental Grace at Confirmation will give you strength to profess your faith even when it is difficult and during times of persecution, and will also again help you to live a good life and to lead by example for your friends, family, and everyone who sees you.
I know that you’ve told me many times that we need to be baptized in order to become a child of God and make it to Heaven, is that the same for Confirmation?
You don't technically have to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in order to make it to Heaven, but I hope that you can see that the extra power and strength that you receive from the Holy Spirit during Confirmation will be a great and tremendous help to you. It wouldn’t just be a help to you, but it will also be a help to others around you as you live out your Catholic Faith in a stronger and more faithful way. I must say though that even though not being confirmed would not be considered a mortal sin if you refuse or neglect deliberately to not get confirmed then this would actually be a venial sin.
In the questions you gave us at the beginning you asked if we should argue with non-Catholics about the faith, should we?
I don't think it's a great idea to argue vehemently about your Faith, but I do believe that it’s a great thing to be open and willing to talk to others about your Faith and their Faith or lack of it. Most of the time people who have bad thoughts or bad feelings about the Catholic Church is because they just don't know what the Catholic Church really teaches. So if someone wants to badmouth your Faith or the Catholic Church, then what I would do is listen to them, see what they had to say, and then calmly in a loving manner tell them the real truth about the Catholic Church. That's why it's important for you to continue to learn about your Faith so that you will be equipped to answer those kinds of questions from other people. If you don't know the answer right away then that's all right, of course, because you're not expected to know everything, nobody knows everything except for God. The great thing is though, that you can tell that person that you really don't know the answer, but you will find out and get back with them. I think most of the time that a person would be okay with that and would then welcome you to come back and talk about that question at a later time.
Then you can ask your parents, you can ask a priest, you can go on our website All About My Catholic Faith.Com and listen to the podcast series about the faith or you can go to Catholic Answers which is at Catholic.com, you can listen to Catholic radio, you can watch EWTN, there's a lot of different ways that you can try to find out the answers to the questions that you might have so that you're better able to go back to that person to answer their question or concern or argument about the faith.
This person may be a complete stranger, they may even be your enemy, but remember Jesus taught us and told us that we should pray for and love our enemies, and not only our enemies but the enemies of Jesus and his Church. So prepare yourself with all the knowledge that you can, read the Bible every day, read the Catechism, go to Mass, pray the daily Rosary, go to confession often to make sure you stay in a state of grace, show others that you love them in the way that you act and talk, and truly live out your Catholic Christian faith every single day. I would also suggest that you try to stay away from the true enemies of the church and also not read books or view things on the internet that are opposed to the Church and her teaching. Since the Catholic Church is the true Church, the Church that Jesus Christ started and is still here Two Thousand Years later, then you really shouldn't participate actively in a non-Catholic Christian form of worship. If you do that you may run the risk, and you may actually commit one or many sins.
Those sins are called apostasy, heresy, and indifferentism. Apostasy means that you completely leave the Catholic Church to start practicing and professing a non-Christian religion or turning away from Jesus all together and not practicing the Christian Faith at all. The sin of heresy is a deliberate denial by you of one or more of the truths of the faith. Indifferentism is the belief that one religion is as good as another.
Remember nothing is as good as the one, Holy, catholic, and Apostolic Church that Jesus Christ started. Jesus didn’t tell Peter that you are Peter and Upon This Rock, I will build my many churches, remember he told Peter that he was here to start his Church, that meant his one Church, the Holy Catholic Church. Each of these sins of apostasy, heresy, and indifferentism really really truly hurt God very deeply. Apostasy and heresy really show refusal to believe what God has taught us and again indifferentism would put the mystical Body of Christ on the same level as any other religions or even false religions or let's say religions of the world which means putting money, fame, and fortune above God.
Instead of having another reading from the Bible, I want you to write down a little homework assignment. Go to the Holy Bible and go to the Acts of the Apostles and read chapter 2 to learn a little bit more about what we've been talking about today. Then read chapter four in 1st Peter, which will teach you how to better live out your Faith in a loving, Christian way.
I Hope you've learned a little bit more about the Sacrament of Confirmation today.
Yes, I did, but I'm wondering if you forgot to announce the winner of the book giveaway?
I'm glad you reminded me. I was so excited about talking about Confirmation that perhaps I did forget, so thanks again for reminding me.
No problem, so who was the winner.
So the winner of our first book giveaway, Trent Horn’s book: Why We’re Catholic is Shawn Campbell. So Shawn, hope you're listening and congratulations and thank you for entering for the chance to win Trent Horn’s book. I think you will really enjoy it and hopefully, you will be able to pass it along to someone else to help them learn a little bit more about the Catholic Faith after you read it. So, Shawn, I will send you an email to let you know that you are the winner, and at that point, I will be able to get to your mailing information so I can get the book out to you as soon as possible.
Thanks to everyone who did enter and if you keep listening we will have other opportunities to win other books or other items, so keep listening and sharing this podcast and our website All About My Catholic Faith.Com. Our website has a lot of links on there for things that we've been talking about such as Catholic radio, EWTN, Catholic Answers, and a few other very helpful websites to help you continue to learn your Faith so that you can be a better Soldier of Christ as you continue through your life.
As a reminder, if you’re Catholic remember we are in Lent now which is the six weeks leading up to Easter. This podcast is coming out on Friday, March 8th, which is the first Friday of Lent. Remember all Fridays of Lent are days of abstinence. And that means if you're a baptized Catholic over the age of 14 and in good health then you should abstain, not eat meat on Fridays, during Lent. It's also a great idea on Fridays to do something extra for Jesus, perhaps reading a little bit extra from the Bible, learning a little bit more about your Faith, talking to someone about your Faith, praying for someone or even helping someone else learn more about the Catholic Faith.
I hope you have a really great and holy Lenten season. Remember to go to Mass this Sunday and every Sunday of course and during Lent, it's a great idea if you can go to Mass more often, even every day if you can. As I said before, I really hope that you’re learning more about your Faith by listening to this podcast series and remember to share this podcast series with those people who you know who are looking for more answers about the Catholic Faith even, if they're not a Catholic. What will it hurt to say to them, “I know this great podcast that will be able to teach you the truth of the Catholic Faith in a very loving and non-confrontational way.”
I would really appreciate it if you would tell people about the podcast and hopefully, it will help them as much as it's helping you. If you have any questions or comments or even more importantly any prayer requests then please go to our website All About My Catholic Faith.Com, and in the right-hand column, you'll see an area where you can put your comment or question or your prayer request. I read all the messages and I promise that I will respond back to you as soon as possible, and if you have a prayer request for any reason at all I will most certainly take your prayers with me to Mass and also pray for you during my daily Rosary. Speaking of the Rosary, I want to tell you how important and how great praying the Rosary is every day. Although the rosary is a series of beads and a crucifix and looks harmless, it is actually the greatest weapon that you have to defend your soul against the enemies of the Church, most importantly Satan himself. He hates Mary and he hates the Rosary, so when you pray the Rosary and you meditate upon the wonderful Mysteries of the life of Jesus, you are providing yourself a solid shield of armor against evil. Praying the Rosary every day will help you stay stronger and less susceptible to fall into sin. And remember we all do sin, so if you do fall into sin make sure you go to confession right away and tell your sins to a priest so that you can have your sins completely washed away by Jesus Through the priest.
I ask you for a favor that you pray for me and my family whenever you go to Mass or pray the Rosary or say your daily prayers. I promise that I will always pray for you whether you send in a prayer request or not.
We're going to talk about the Source and Summit of our Faith, next week, and that is the Holy Eucharist.
Christopher thanks again for joining me!
And I hope you and everyone out there has a wonderful week,
Thanks, you too.
Until next week God bless you and goodbye for now.