Thursday, 19 September 2013

Series on the Sacraments Part 2 - Confirmation

One of the greatest sacraments for perseverance and strength in the spiritual life is Confirmation. By definition in the Baltimore Catechism, "Confirmation is a Sacrament through which we receive the Holy Ghost to make us strong and perfect Christians and soldiers of Jesus Christ." The Catholic Encyclopedia explains it's effects and necessities:

"Confirmation imparts:
  • an increase of sanctifying grace which makes the recipient a "perfect Christian";
  • special sacramental grace consisting in the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost and notably in the strength and courage to confess boldly the name of Christ;
  • an indelible character by reason of which the sacrament cannot be received again by the same person.

Necessities:

Regarding the obligation of receiving the sacrament, it is admitted that confirmation is not necessary as an indispensable means of salvation(necessitate medii).
On the other hand, its reception is obligatory (necessitate præcepti) "for all those who are able to understand and fulfill the Commandments of God and of the Church. This is especially true of those who suffer persecution on account of their religion or are exposed to grievous temptations against faith or are in danger of death. The more serious the danger so much greater is the need of protecting oneself". (Conc. Plen. Balt. II, n. 250.) As to the gravity of the obligation, opinions differ, some theologians holding that an unconfirmed person would commit mortal sin if he refused the sacrament, others that the sin would be at most venial unless the refusal implied contempt for the sacrament. Apart, however, from such controversies the importance of Confirmation as a means of grace is so obvious that no earnest Christian will neglect it, and in particular that Christian parents will not fail to see that their children are confirmed."

Through Confirmation we are armed with grace, we are shielded with the protection of the Holy Ghost, and we are confirmed in Jesus Christ. This sacrament was given to us in order that we may be perfected in God's grace and become saints. We are all called to be great saints, so why not receive this sacrament? It's never too late to receive it, and the benefits are of infinite value. Let us then cherish and love this sacrament, and that God that He has given it to us. God bless you all!