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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Confirmation: Strengthening the Gift of the Holy Spirit

Now, when the apostles, who were in Jerusalem, had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John. And when they had arrived, they prayed for them, so that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For he had not as yet come to any of them, since they were only baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them: and they received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 8:14-17

Non-Christians who are received to the Church, are given three sacraments at the same time: Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. These three sacraments are sacraments of initiation because they are the first sacraments a person encounters when entering the Church. Confirmation has its roots in Apostolic times as narrated in scripture passage above. Peter and John "laid their hands upon them: and they received the Holy Spirit." This is the same action the Bishop does when he confirms a person. The Bishop is the ordinary minister for Confirmation but he can delegate this authority to a priest in special situations. 

But what is confirmation? Did we not receive the Holy Spirit during baptism? What is the difference between the Gift given during Baptism and Confirmation. After all, they are from the same Person any way.

While it is true that the Spirit given in Baptism and Confirmation is the same Person, the purposes are different.

To explain this, let’s take for example a child in a mother’s womb. Despite what other people say, the child in the mother’s womb has life. Even while she is in the womb, she can still interact with her mother, she can hear sounds outside of her mother’s womb. She kicks and someone feeling the mother’s stomach can feel her kicking from the inside. Even if she has life, she is able to interact with the world outside in a limited way.

When the child is born, her interaction with the world becomes more full. She can see, she can hear better, she can touch, smell and taste.

When we were baptized, our interaction with the Holy Spirit is limited. The Holy Spirit was given fully, but our ability to interact with him is limited. But as we become mature in our faith, our ability to interact with and respond to him improves. This is when God gives us the grace to fully interact with him in confirmation.

While Baptism and Confirmation are given at the same time for an adult, the assumption there is the adult already has been formed properly before his baptism, that he has already developed his ability to interact and respond to the Holy Spirit.
May God give us the grace to fully respond to the movements of the Holy Spirit so we can truly live our lives for the glory of God.

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