We read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church about the sacrament of Baptism, “A new creature. Baptism not only purifies from all sin, but also makes the neophyte ‘a new creature,’ and adopted son of God, who has become a ‘partaker of the divine nature.’ Member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit. The most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification: enabling him to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through the theological virtues; giving them the power to love and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit; allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues. Thus the whole organism of the Christian’s supernatural life has it roots in Baptism.”(CCC 1265-1266)
Baptism gives us many graces. At this I time want to focus on just one of the graces given to us at Baptism. As we read in the catechism, Baptism, “gives them the power to love and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit.” At our Baptism we are give the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. Every baptized person has these 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are given them because we need them to achieve holiness. The 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit are connected with sanctifying grace. In this the 7 gifts are different than the charismatic gifts. With regards to the charismatic gifts we all have different gifts for building up the Body of Christ. The charismatic gifts are not primarily concerned with our personal holiness, but for the building up of the Church. Every baptized person is given the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit at Baptism. We read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The moral life of Christians is sustained by the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These are permanent dispositions which make man docile in following the prompting of the Holy Spirit.”(CCC 1830)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us this about the sacrament of Confirmation, “The effects of confirmation. It is evident from it celebration that the effect of the sacrament of Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit at once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. 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!’ 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.” (CCC 1302-1303)
St Ambrose tells us, “Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgement and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God’s presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the Spirit in your heart.”
The Catechism goes on to say, “Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for it imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the ‘character,’ which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness.”(1304)
There are 3 things that I want to point our about the sacrament of Confirmation. Confirmation is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost. Like the disciples at the Pentecost in the Acts of Apostles we are to have a life changing experience of the Holy Spirit.
Second point: Confirmation increase the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us. When we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation it ought to be easier to use and experience the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Third point: Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness. The word for power is the same word for dynamite. Meaning when we receive the Holy Spirit we receive real power. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to heal, to drive our demons, to teach. In short, the Holy Spirit give us the power to do everything that Jesus did in his earthly ministry.
Raniero Cantalamessa in his book, ‘The Holy Spirit in the Life of Jesus’ writes, ” The mystery of the anointing in the Church and in ourselves. It remains to examine how the mystery of the anointing acts now, concretely, in the Church and in ourselves. St. John explains how we can know that we remain in Jesus and he is us even after his ascension into heaven: ‘He has give us of his Spirit.’ (1 John 4:13) The Holy Spirit is the mystery of Jesus’s permanence among us; he makes himself present by making Jesus present, so that St. Paul can say in an elliptical yet true phrase. ‘The Lord is the Spirit.’ (2 Cor 3:17); that is, the risen Lord Jesus lives and manifest himself in the Spirit. “As the Father,” writes St. Basil, “makes himself visible in the Son, so the Son makes himself present in the Spirit.” This belief was such a familiar one for the earliest generations of Christians that they celebrated Pentecost not so much as the event of the Holy Spirit’s descent upon the apostles on the fiftieth day after Easter, but rather as the new presence of Jesus ‘according to the Spirit,’ inaugurated by his resurrection, the ‘spiritual’ presence of Christ in the Church, of which the fifty days after Easter were a manifestation. Pentecost was not the feast of the fiftieth day, but of the fifty days; it began on Easter day itself and gave the name to the fifty days following: ‘To the feast of Easter,’ writes St. Athanasius, ‘we shall add the feast of Pentecost, through which we pass, as though through a succession of feast days, while we celebrate the Spirit who is now always near us in Christ Jesus.’ The Church is therefore led by the Spirit of Christ. furthermore, in a certain sense, the Church is brought about by sharing in Christ’s anointing; in other words, we are ‘Christ’s Body,’ that is, the Church, because we are animated by the Spirit of Christ: ‘Not only has our head been anointed,’ says St. Augustine, ‘but we ourselves too, who are his body…We are all the body of Christ because we share in the anointing and , in him, we are all Christ’s and Christ, since in a certain way the whole Christ consists in both Head and Body.’ We are a ‘messianic people,’ As Vatican II says, because we are an anointed people, a people consecrated with the Spirit.”
Prayer for the day
Come Holy Spirit Come and Anoint me with Love Joy and Power
Come Holy Spirit take my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh
Come Holy Spirit show me Jesus today