I would like to start off this post by asking a question. When you hear the word Spirit, what do you think of? I have heard a lot of different responses to the question. Some of the responses that I have heard have been related to pep rallies and faith. This posting which I have written deals with The Sacrament of Confirmation and the Holy Spirit. This posting is apart of my series on the Sacraments.
Acts 2:2-4 tells us that Jesus sends the Holy Spirit in the form of fiery tongues on his Apostles and disciples. This also happens to be the 3rd Glorious Mystery for the Rosary. The Holy Spirit is referenced many times in the bible throughout the Old and New Testament. The Sacrament of Confirmation is an important step in the faith journey for Catholics. The Sacrament is one of Initiation in Christian Churches which in most cases is carried out through anointing and/or the laying on of hands and prayer. This is done for the purpose of bestowing the Gifts of the Holy Spirit upon those being confirmed.
Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and many Anglicans view Confirmation as a Sacrament. In Eastern Churches, The Sacrament is given immediately after the Sacrament of Baptism. In the West, it is administered later at the age of reason or in early adolescence. In Protestantism, Confirmation is usually seen as a sign of a person who has already been baptized that is reaching maturity in their faith. In most Protestant denominations, Confirmation is required for membership. In traditional Protestant Churches, Confirmation is recognized by a coming-of-age party.
Confirmation is not practiced in faith denominations that teach believer’s baptism.
I would like to put on record that I am a proud Roman Catholic. Confirmation for me was one of many highlights of my faith journey. I made my Confirmation in May of 1999. So it took place twelve years ago. I can’t believe it was that long ago. I remember that I was afraid to be confirmed because of stories I had heard of people being slapped by the Bishop. If I remember correctly, I wasn’t slapped at all. I am pretty sure it was a sign of the cross on the forehead and the laying on of hands. I made it through the Sacrament ok. It was such a beautiful ceremony.
For my confirmation name, I chose my middle name which is Michael. The reason I chose that name is because of St Michael the Arch Angel. For my Confirmation Sponsor, I chose my Uncle Dave. One thing in particular i remember is the gift I had received from the couple who ran my confirmation home group at their home. The gift was a medal with the Holy Spirit on it. I still wear the medal to this day. It is a constant reminder that the Holy Spirit is with me and in me wherever I go.
Through the Sacrament of Confirmation, The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that were given to us at Baptism are strengthened through this wonderful Sacrament. The seven gifts are as follows: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel (Right Judgement),Fortitude (Courage), Knowledge, Piety (Reverence), and Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe). St Thomas Aquinas tells us that Wisdom, Understanding, Knowledge, and Counsel are to direct the intellect. He also tells us that the other three gifts are to direct the will towards God.
If you would like to read up on the Comparisons between the Seven Capital Virtues and The Gifts of the Holy Spirit, I encourage you to read Summa Theologica II.II. Summa Theologica is the best know written work of Thomas Aquinas.
It is often discussed among people who are involved with the Charismatic Renewal about being filled with the Holy Spirit. I believe anyone can be filled with the Holy Spirit. Since being confirmed, I have attended a few Charismatic prayer groups, retreats, and conferences. Being filled with the Holy Spirit is not a bad thing. It in my opinion is quite the opposite. It is a good thing.
Being filled with the Holy Spirit means that we can do the will of God and bring the good news to others whether it be through sacred scripture or our gifts. I encourage anyone who hasn’t yet to attend a local Life in the Spirit seminar. This is a great way to continue learning about the Holy Spirit as well as learning about how to use what God gives us. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before but a great place to witness the Holy Spirit at work is at healing masses. A phrase that I hear quite often among Catholics or even in the Charismatic prayer community is that the Holy Spirit works in many ways.
I remembered the first time i had seen a person resting in the spirit and I thought it was weird at first. The reason I had thought this was because i wasn’t familiar at the time with how the Holy Spirit worked. Today, I know the Holy Spirit works in many ways and through unexpected people too. If you are one of those people who think they know how the Holy Spirit is going to work, you have another thing coming for you. No one can truly know how the Holy Spirit will work, well except for God. God is part of the trinity which is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
If you want more info on guest speakers or resources related to the Holy Spirit, I encourage you to check out Fr Fernando Suarez or Renewal Ministries. There are various priests and organizations around the world that specialize in the area of Healing and the Holy Spirit. You are welcomed to check out those resources as well.
In closing, I would like to leave you with some words : Let Go and Let God !