“Those whom God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed into the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family.” Romans 8:29
The question that all Confirmation candidates need to ask is, “What is Confirmation?” Confirmation is one of the seven Sacraments, the third Sacrament of Initiation in the Roman Catholic Church. (Baptism is the first Sacrament of Initiation and Eucharist is the second.) A Sacrament is a sign of God’s love and presence in our lives. Sacraments give sanctifying grace – the free gift of God’s love – God’s life. Confirmation establishes the beginning, NOT the end or “graduation,” of a life of full participation and responsibility in the Church.
While we receive the Holy Spirit through Baptism, Confirmation is the sacrament in which a person receives the fullness of the Holy Spirit. Through Confirmation, a person is considered a full participant in the faith, a full member of the faith community. Sometimes the image of chocolate milk is used. If the Holy Spirit were chocolate syrup, then Baptism would be like pouring the syrup into a glass of milk and Confirmation would be stirring the milk - transforming it completely.
This is the same Spirit that stirred the Apostles with the zeal and courage they needed to be public witnesses to Christ. Confirmation celebrates God’s presence in our lives as the Holy Spirit continues to guide, strengthen, and empower us to live and witness the Good News of Jesus Christ. Christians, on the day of their Confirmation, are commissioned to be public witnesses to Christ and his saving works.
Confirmation also produces a deepening of our friendship with God, a more personal union with the Spirit of Christ, and the strength to persevere as members of God’s family. Confirmation makes us realize more fully our calling to be witnesses to Christ by the life we live and the message that we proclaim. For this reason, Confirmation is not just another one of those things that we do because we are of age or because others are doing it. Confirmation needs to be done because we want to live a more Christ directed life. The introduction to the rite rehearses the meaning and potency of the sacrament precisely in these terms: “This giving of the Holy Spirit conforms believers more fully to Christ and strengthens them so that they may bear witness to Christ for the building up of his body in faith and love” (RC, 2). Confirmation is a sacrament of apostolic responsibilities. It is important that the candidate is both ready and truly willing to make a fully mature commitment to Christ and to continue to grow in their faith and relationship with God.
Sealed with the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in Confirmation (Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, Counsel, Fortitude (Courage), Fear of the Lord (Awe & Wonder), and Piety (Reverence)), Christians bear witness to Him before the world, and eagerly work for the building up of the body of Christ. Confirmed Christians bear witness of Christ through both their actions and their words. They get involved in community service, volunteering their time, treasure and talent. They live more aware of Christ and more committed to His mission of serving others. Confirmation is not an end to church involvement and faith development. On the contrary, Confirmation is another step in the ongoing commitment of what it means to be Christian.