Tuesday, November 04, 2008
All Saints' episcopal visitation
The sacrament of Confirmation (sometimes called chrismation) is vital to the perfecting and strengthening of the Christian walk and has always been historically connected with Baptism. While they continued to be administered together in the Byzantine East, Confirmation came to be delayed in the Latin West until the baptized had reached the age of reason and was ready to take on the duties of Christian living.
Confirmation is the sacramental strengthening of the baptismal vows and graces for adult life and service upon making a mature commitment to the Christian faith.
The seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit are poured out upon the baptized—the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, courage, piety, and the fear of the Lord. At times, other signs of Christian maturity may accompany the sacrament, as when St Paul once laid hands on some newly baptized believers, “the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6).
The power to administer confirmation belongs to the apostolic ministry, and now to the bishops as the successors to the apostles. In one case, when the deacon Philip had baptized some new believers and was not able to confirm them himself, they sent for the apostles, “Then Peter and John laid their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:17).
(Thanks to the Steve Altman for the pictures above.)