Confirmation: Seal of the Spirit, Gift of the Father

Catechism of the Catholic Church 1285-1321


Confirmation is the sacrament by which those born anew in baptism receive the seal of the Holy Spirit, the Gift of the Father. Along with baptism and the Eucharist, Confirmation is the sacrament of initiation – in this case, initiation into the life of adult Christian witness. The deepened presence of the Spirit, who comes to us in this sacrament, is meant to sustain us in a lifetime of witness to Christ and service others.

If you were being confirmed today, the celebrant would moisten his thumb with Chrism, the specially blessed mixture of olive oil and balsam, and trace the sign of the cross on your forehead. This act is the laying on of hands, which is an actual part of the sacrament going back to the time of the apostles.

While anointing you, the celebrant would address you using your new Confirmation name and say: “Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.” These words have rich connections with early Christianity. As Saint Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus, “In him you also…were sealed with the promises Holy Spirit, which is the first installment of our inheritance…” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

The word Gift, used in Confirmation, is spelled with a capital, because the Gift we receive in the sacrament is the Spirit Himself.

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