By Engr. Carlos V. Cornejo
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “By the sacrament of Confirmation, the baptized are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence, they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed.” (CCC 1285) The basis of the institution of the Sacrament of Confirmation is on the account of the Acts of the Apostles when Peter and John laid hands on those Christians from Samaria who were baptized but not yet confirmed in the Holy Spirit. “Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been 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).
The effects of the Sacrament of Confirmation to our souls are enumerated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church point 1303, “From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of baptismal grace: it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry, ‘Abba! Father!’; (Romans 8:15) it unites us more firmly to Christ; it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us; it renders our bond with the Church more perfect; it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross.” Theologians would say that in the Sacrament of Baptism we become children of God and in the Sacrament of Confirmation we become soldiers of Christ equipped with more graces and ready to do battle with the three main sources of sin: the world, the flesh and the devil. The “world” in spiritual terms refers to the alluring temptations of wealth, fame, pleasure and power. The flesh refers to our number one enemy: our own selves that carries with it the wounded nature due to Original sin that inclines us to sin rather than practice the virtues. And lastly the devil who due to his envy of man and hatred for God wants to bring along souls to his abode of Hell, through subtle temptations of promising a happy life through sin but does not fulfill his promise of course, because he always lies as he lied to our first parents Adam and Eve.
Quite a number of Catholics don’t see the value of the Sacrament of Confirmation that’s why not so many would avail of it, and those who do, are doing it usually because it is a requirement to get married in the Church. But we need to remember that the spiritual life is much like the biological life, we need special nutrients as we grow older. When we were babies, we eat baby food, as we mature in life, we need adult food fit for the needs of our health. That’s why the Sacrament of Confirmation is sometimes called the “Sacrament of Christian maturity” because as we reach the age of reason (the age when we consciously start to decide between moral good and evil, or the age we start committing sins) it’s the age when we need more grace. Thus, at the age of seven, kids can already go to Confession, so as to receive their first Communion and likewise the Sacrament of Confirmation can also be received at this stage in life.
If we know that we are spiritually weak and would easily fall into temptation, we should avail of all the help we can get, and one of those help are the graces obtained in the Sacrament of Confirmation (if we have not been Confirmed yet). God grants us the grace normally through the Sacraments, and in response, we try to cooperate with that grace, by living a prayerful life and practicing good deeds. And that’s how our salvation from sin and misery is accomplished, which is always a teamwork of God and us.