CANON IV.If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification; though all (the sacraments) are not necessary for every individual; let him be Anathema.

 

CONFIRMATION

 

 I sign thee with the Sign of the Cross, and I confirm thee with the Chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.

 

 

I THE ANOINTING OF THE LAITY

 

And when Paul had imposed his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. (Acts 19: 6,) It must have been a trying moment for St. Paul when he inquired of some of his hearers at Ephesus, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you became  believers?, only to be told, We have not even heard that there is a Holy Ghost’ (Acts 19:1-3). A complete lack of understanding of the role of the Holy Ghost in Christian life exists today. It is particularly noticeable in the widespread failure to understand the meaning and purpose of the sacrament of Confirmation. This ignorance is no less trying to the Church now than it was in the time of St. Paul.

 The widespread ignorance of, and indifference to the sacrament of Confirmation is itself an indictment of the vitality of Catholicism in our day.Confirmation is the soldier’s  sacrament; it is tailored to produce apostolic fighters against the spirit of worldliness which Christ condemned so severely. Perhaps the fact that Catholics have come to the terms with worldliness, that they have forgotten Christ’s promise of enmity with the world, that they have ceased to fight; perhaps this explains their apathy toward confirmation and the relatively few apostolic souls in our day. The last thing a complacent  man or a slacker wants is a uniform. The last thing Catholics seem to want is a summons battle. Yes that is precisely what Confirmation is, and it is exactly what our age needs. These matter become clear in this treatment, which will be developed according to the following outline:

 

II NATURE OF CONFIRMATION
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The investigation of the nature of Confirmation follows the same pattern as that for baptism. The object of our inquiry will be to discover what kind of reality the sacrament of Confirmation is. In accomplishing this, we shall be able to know what the particular sacrament is, and the way in which it differs from baptism and the other sacraments. Thus, since the sacrament of Confirmation is a symbol which effects what it signifies, we must determine its matter and form. But first we shall give a metaphysical definition of Confirmation.      

A. Metaphysical Definition

Confirmation is the sacrament of spiritual strengthThis is’ it’s metaphysical definition. Like Baptism, Confirmation belongs to the general class of things we know as signs. It is a symbol of our reception of spiritual strength, actually accomplished at the moment when the symbol is present. Thus, Confirmation sanctifies man is a special way by giving man spiritual strength and produces a special mode of sanctifying grace . In this, Confirmation is a sacrament which is specifically different from the other sacraments. 

B. Physical Nature of Confirmation
 
We must deal with the matter and form of the sacrament of Confirmation, because these are the elements which make up the physical nature of any sacrament. Remember that sacraments are signs, and signs are the value of human beings alone. That is, only human knowledge proceeds from since objects to intellectual comprehension. In Confirmation, the sense objects which we must consider are the matter, (both the sensible thing itself, the remote matter, and the use of the remote matter, the proximate matter), and the form, the words spoken at the moment of Confirmation.

 

(1) The Remote matter

The remote matter of this sacrament is sacred chrism. Chrism is an admixture of olive oil and balsam, and each of its elements has special significance. The lustre of olive oil signifies the brightness of the Christian’s conscience; its strengthgiving qualities indicate the spiritual strength of the fullness of the Holy Ghost which is conferred by the sacrament. The fragrance of the balsam, which permeates to the far corners of the church, is a sign of the fullness of the spiritual life given to the Christian, in virtue of which he passes beyond the individual life of spiritual infancy into adult, social Christian life, wherein he communicates his spiritual riches to others. The chrism must be consecrated, lies in the fact that Christ himself probably did not use chrism, and hence a special consecration is needed to adapt it to become the instrument of grace. The special blessing prescribed for the consecration of sacred chrism on Holy Thursday is administered only by a bishop, who most fully represents Christ and takes his place.

(2) The Proximate Matter

The proximate matter of Confirmation is the anointing with chrism on the forehead in the form of a cross through the imposition of hands. By this ceremony, the one confirmed is signed like a soldier with the mark of his Chief. He bears proudly the stamp of his Christianity upon his brow, which is the most prominent part of his body. It is not on the forehead that one notiices the blush of shame or the paleness of fear, which might prevent the public protestation of faith. It is thus fitting that the forehead should bear the chrism, the sign of the Christian adult and soldier of Christ, rather that the signs of human fear and shame.

(3) The Form of Confirmation

The form of this sacrament is found in the words: I sign you with the sign of the cross and I confirm you with the chrism of salvation, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. St. Thomas points out this simple but solemn formula expresses the three necessary elements of this sacred symbol, clearly determining the material sign.{9} It expresses the principal cause of the fullness of spiritual strength, the Trinity, and the instrumental cause, the minister, as well. The formula delineates the effect conferred by the visible sacrament, the spiritual strengthening unto salvation, I confirm you (i.e. strengthen) you with the chrism of salvation.” It also makes clear the Christian fighter is given the sign of his Chief, the cross on which the King won his victory, just as in worldly combat soldiers are given the insignia of their leaders.

 

III THE NECESSITY OF CONFIRMATION
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As the fact there is a special matter and a special minister of this sacrament suggests, Confirmation is not such absolute and universal necessity as Baptism. The Christian may attain salvation without it. Such is the tremendous grace it confers, however, and such its power, that the Christian who deliberately neglected so important a channel to Christ’s
perfection could hardly be excused from fault. The man who remains physically or mentally a child in the natural order is to be pitied; the child of Christ who fails to reach his destined maturity through neglect of Confirmation is a comparable condition. All of the Baptizedand only the Baptizedwho are not yet confirmed are capable of receiving the sacrament validly. In the present discipline of the Church, it is usually given, apart from danger of death, only to those who have reached the age of reason. It is clear, however, that Confirmation could be given at any chronological age. For the fruitful reception of Confirmation, the subject should be in the state of grace, and, if he has attained the use of reason, be instructed in the Christian faith and in the matters which pertain to this sacrament. Only then can he be properly be disposed to receive the great graces of this outpouring of the Holy Ghost.
{9} Summa,III,Q.72, a. 4.

IV
 THE EFFECTS OF CONFIRMATION

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A. Grace

Confirmation, like all the sacraments of the living, confers an increase of sanctifying grace upon those who receive it worthily. In addition, Confirmation brings, a special sacramental grace which we are designed to enable the recipient to attain the end for which the sacrament was instituted. By this sacrament, spiritual infants become spiritual mature, and the simple citizens of Christ’s kingdom become His soldiers, and athletes. These things are clearly indicated by the symbolism of this sacred rite, which implies the following effects:
1) A substantial and notable increase of sanctifying grace, of the infused moral and the theological virtues, and the gifts of the Holy Ghostin recipients who place no obstacle to the reception of grace.
2) A special sacramental grace is so strengthening, that the Christian he will firmly and bravely live his faith in public before all men, defending it and fighting for it when circumstances demand.
3) The right throughout his life to actual graces necessary for this conflict, whenever occasion arises.
       B. Sacramental Character
A sacramental character, as explained above, is a special power whereby men are made able to participate in the divine worship inaugurated By Christ on the cross. Confirmation imprints an indelible character of this kind on the souls of all who receive the sacrament validly. We will consider in detail its characteristics.
(1) Its Indelibility
The sacramental character is indelible; nothing can efface it from the soul. Because of this, Confirmation can be receive only once. The character is impressed even upon those who receive the sacrament unworthily, in the state of serious sin. But in these cases, the permanent character remains as a pledge of the sacramental grace which will flow into the soul once the obstacle of sin is removed. Like Baptism, Confirmation revives,” i.e., comes back to spiritual life by producing its effects of grace at the time the soul becomes properly disposed to receive them. Because the character is a permanent quality which effects a real change in the soul, we may rightly say that the confirmed Christian is a different kind of person than one who has not received the sacrament. This difference in being will normally be manifested bydifference in action.

 

(2) Its Activity

The character of Baptism is a passive power to partake in the worship of Christ through the reception of the other sacraments. The character of Holy Orders is an active power to administer those sacred thing which belong to Christ’s worship of God. The character of Confirmation holds a kind of middle-ground between these two. It is a kind of passive-active power, first, to receive special divine aids for the active and official profession of the Christian faith, and secondly, to bear witness by the public profession of faith, in words and deeds suited to edify the faithful. In this sacrament of the fullness of grace, there is a special conformity to Christ, who from the first instant of his conception was  full of grace and truth (John 1:14) . The roll of the confirmed in Christ’s worship is quite different from that of those who are only Baptized or those who are ordained The Ordained have a spiritual dominion over others; they are the official teachers of faith. Confirmation grants the authority over others; Yet its effects are social, insofar as a witness borne to Crist must necessarily affect others: it is related to building up the faith of Christ’ mystical body. The baptized profess the faith, but as a personal thing, as an exercise of self-survival in the spiritual life to which they are  regenerated by Baptism. The confirmed professes the faith of ex officio, he is like a soldier who defends the republic and is officially charged to do so. The Character of Confirmation does not bring any dominion to the recipient, but it does bring a special excellence, just as maturity brings to a man an excellence he did not possess as a boy. It is upon the confirmed that Christ’s Mystical Body must rely “ to do those things which pertain to the spiritual combat with the enemies of faith.” {10} Thus, although the salvation of the individual may be obtained without Confirmation, it is clear that the sacrament is necessary for the Church. The workings of the character of Confirmation are strikingly evident in the apostles, who were changed from cowards into fearless confessors of the faith at Pentecost, but they are no less real in the multitudes who bear witness for the faith today. This includes not only the countless victims of persecution throughout the Communist world, but also the Christians parents who sacrifice their families, the Christian workers who strive for justice, The Christian officials who labor for good government, the Christian students who defend the truth, and countless others who bear witness to Christ.

 

(3) Its Divine Effects

   The confirmed compose the normal majority of the faithful. It must be the divine intention to perfect the body of the Church bringing its members to the perfect spiritual age, just as nature intends a race of men, not dwarfs. {11} Even if all the members of the mystical body were spiritual mature through Confirmation, there would still be a diversity of works and duties among them, as St. Paul clearly teaches. {12} The confirmed will be distinguished by difference in outlook, responsibility and action, corresponding to the majority which the sacrament causes.

   In outlook, those confirmed should have an awareness of the corporate good of the Mystical Body; they should not be spiritually selfcentered like children. The confirmed should be characterized by a willingness to accept responsibility for others, a great sigh of maturity in the supernatural family of Christ’s Mystical Body, whose whole character is militant and social. And finally, confirmed Christians should be characterized by apostolic action proportioned to their matured look and sense of responsibility. Such apostolic action will be the subject for the following section.

{10} Summa, III q. 72, a. 5.
{11} Summa, III, q.72, a.8.
{12} Romans 12: 4,5,cf. Summa, II-II q. 183, a.2.

C. Preparation for the Apostolate

   Pope Pius XII has stated: Today more than  ever and as in the first of its existence,the Church’s need is above all for witnesses, even more than apologists; witnesses who, by the whole of their life, will make the true face of Christ and of the Church shine out in splendor in the eyes of a paganized world. The perennial need for apostolic action is here expressed in terms of its contemporary urgency. Any realistic hope for the fulfillment of this call must be rooted in a knowledge of the power of the character and of the graces of the sacrament of Confirmation

(1) The Meaning of the Apostolate

    The term “ apostolate must be understood clearly for a proper appreciation of the apostolic activity which should characterize the confirmed Catholic. Etymologically, “ apostolate refers to the work of Christ’s apostles, which was carried out in virtue of special powers he be stowed upon them. Some of these divinely ranted powers were extraordinary, and in virtue of these special powers the apostles become the founders of Christ’s Church. Among these are the charismsthe special grace enjoyed by the apostles, not for their personal sanctification, but rather for the good of the Church as a whole. For example, the apostles had the gifts of tongues and prophecy, the power to work miracles, and the privilege of infallibility in matters of faith and morals. These gifts were necessary for the preservation and growth of the infant Church. The apostles also enjoyed wider jurisdiction than their own dioceses. None of these extraordinary powers were transmitted by the apostles to their successors.

    Besides these  special powers, the apostles received “ ordinary powers which made them pastors of the faithful. By these ordinary abled to teach, govern and sanctify their flocks. These ordinary powers attached to their office as bishops, and not to their persons. Hence, these ordinary powers received from Christ are transmitted to the bishops, who succeed them in office.

   The bishops, then, continue the work of the apostles. They have the fullness of priestly power by which they can ordain other priests. They enjoy supreme jurisdiction in their own dioceses, subject, of course, to the Holy Father. 

    Not only do the bishops continue the work of the apostles, but they also carry out the apostolic mission. That mission is to devote themselves to the salvation of souls because of their love for Christ. The bishop, like his Master, must be willing to lay down his life for his flock. The apostolic mission, then, is supernatural and spiritual in its essence and purpose. Whatever else it may embrace must be pursued and purpose of the salvation of souls. It is the same purpose for which Christ came into the world. 

    All apostolic action is in some degree a sharing in the mission of the hierarchy, and the mission of the hierarchy is to accomplish the salvation of souls. Consequently, apostolic action, howsoever diversified it may become, will find its unity in the apostolic mission, which is to continue the work of Christ in the world for the salvation of souls.


(2) 
The Foundation of the Apostate among the Laity 
    The work of Christ demands workers who are like Christ. That likeness provided among the laity by the laity by the sacramental characters received in Baptism and Confirmation by these characters, the soul is configured to Christ, especially as he is the great High Priest offering perfect worship to His Father. Apostolic action, is simply the flowering, the vital and active expression of this special oneness with Christ which results from the bond of unity founded upon these sacramental characters. Because of this union with Christ, the apostolic activity of Christians enjoys a certain sacredness, and share the apostolic missions of the hierarchy.
 
     The apostate is the Christian warfare, the struggle and sacrifice to extend the work of redemption into the world. It is for this warfare that Christians become ” Soldiers of Christ at confirmation. By this sacrament they become available for, and capable of Christ’s work in the world; they cooperate in bringing the world to the worship of God through the priesthood of Christ by sharing in the mission the hierarchy. This teaching is summarized in these words of Pope Pius XI: In reality it is the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation themselves which impose, among other obligations, that of the apostate, that is to say, the obligation of giving spiritual help to one’s neighbor. It is true that by Confirmation one becomes a soldier of Christ, and everybody recognizes that a soldier must bear fatigue and battles for others rather than for himself. But, In a way that is much hidden from the eyes of the uninstructed, Baptism too imposes the duty of the apostate, since by it we become members of the Church, that is to say, of the Mystical Body. Among the members of the Body–and this is true of every organismthere must be a solidarity of interest and mutual communication of life.  We, the many, are one body in Christ, but severally members one of another.” (Romans 12:5). One member should aid the other; non can remain inactive, each should contribute in his own turn. Every Christian has received the supernatural life which flows in the veins of the Mystical Body of Christthat abundant life which Christ, as he Himself says, came to bring on earth: “I came that they may have life, and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:15). And consequently, every Christian must pass on that life to others, who do not posses it, or who possess to only in small measure and only in appearance. {13}

          (3) Different Kinds of Apostate

   There is a universal summons to the apostate and it is binding upon all. As Pope Pius XII pointed out. “All have the obligations of collaborating in the restoration of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, because all are the joyful subjects of that merciful King  ” To dispense oneself from doing at least something is a sin of omission which, in certain circumstances, could become grave. In Lacordaire’s phrase, every one is called upon to become, by all his being, an apparition of Jesus Christ. This general kind of apostate is as old as the Church. The apostles had their faithful collaborators among the laity; this is clear from the many laymen mentioned in the epistle of St. Paul in the Acts. The same cooperation has been true in every age down to the present day The exercise of this general apostate by the faithful is the private fulfillment of a social obligation. Over and above this ordinary apostate, laymen may be summoned or deputed to collaborate actively in the apostate of the hierarchy. This is a special apostate; this is Catholic Action in the capital letters, Catholic Action properly so called. Pope Pius XI  . . . After due thought, deliberately, indeed one may say not without divine inspiration  . “defined Catholic Action as “… the participation of the laity in the apostate of the Church’s Hierarchy.” {14} In this strict and proper sense, Catholic Action is an official institution of the Church by which and in which the ordinary apostate of the faithful is organized and directed by the hierarchy. Thus the apostate of the laity, founded upon sacramental characters and grace, is elevated and assimilated into the divine work of the hierarchy.

    Catholic Action becomes a special apostate in virtue of the mandate of the bishop, who is himself a successor of the apostles. By this hierarchical summons, laymen are officially commissioned to the work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. This is essentially a work of the laity in which the faithful act in an organized fashion under the direction as auxiliaries to further the reign of Christ in individuals, in families and in society.

(4) Apostolic Works

    If it be asked: What are the works of the apostate ?, many answers may be given. Any good works which tend to further the kingdom of Christ on earth are within the scope of the ordinary apostate of the laity, The spiritual and corporal works of mercy, for example, could all be apostolic works for anyone.

    For official Catholic Action the works will be determined by the needs of the Church as interpreted by the hierarchy. The organized groups will fit themselves to the surroundings in which they work. There are no readymade forms. As a living organism, Catholic Action will adapt itself to the situations in which it operates to establish the human race under the rule of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Catholic Action is essentially missionary action, designed to bring Christ to others. This demands that it participants shall; themselves lead an intensely Christian Life. The call to Catholic Action is a summons to a more perfect spiritual life, for no one can impart what he does not possess. It is perhaps because of the  personal demands that a more perfect Christian life must make that the numbers engaged in Catholic Action are relatively few. But this apostate is not for the sake of personal salvation; it is missionary and concerned with others. Hence, there must follow from a more abundant spiritual life an effective Christian action upon others to draw them to Christ. The works engaged in by Catholic Action are practically innumerable. There are the multiple works of the family apostate: conducting conferences to prepare the young for marriage; preparing meeting to improve schools; looking after neglected children; providing opportunities for family recreation. There are many social works laboring good working conditions; striving for the passage of just laws; providing adequate family housing; promoting good literature and wholesome recreation; assisting in the works of the parish apostate; encouraging vocations ; promoting Catholic education; and similar works. There are specialized groups working among students, in the various unions, among members of the professional and occupational groups. But throughout the great array of diverse undertakings there is a great unity from the common goal of restoring all things in Christ.

THE CAUSE OF CONFIRMATION
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A Its Institution

     The Church has repeatedly defined that Confirmation is a sacrament of the New Law instituted by Christ. {15} It is clear from the Scriptures that the apostles employed a sacred rite of anointing; they imposed their hand on the baptized faithful in order that they might receive the Holy Ghost (cf. Acts 8:12-18, 19:1-6), and it is hardly conceivable that they would have dared to introduce such a ceremony on their own authority.

    Neither Sacred Scripture nor tradition assign a determined time for the institution of this sacrament, but theologians generally hold that this occurred in the period between the resurrection and the Ascension. It was during this time that Christ spoke to His followers of the kingdom of God (cf. Acts 1:3), and made a solemn promise of the coming of the Holy Ghost. (cf.1:4; Luke 24:49)

     St. Thomas expresses this theological consensus regarding the institution of Confirmation: It must be said that Christ instituted this sacrament, not by producing, but by promising it, according to (John 16:7) For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you; but If I go, I will send him to you.” And this so because in this sacrament the fullness of the Holy Ghost is given, which was not to be bestowed before the Resurrection and Ascension of Christ, according to (John 7:39:) “For the Spirit had not yet been given, seeing that Jesus had not yet been glorified.” {16}

    Keeping in mind the parallel between growth in the natural and supernatural orders, the suitability of Confirmation becomes evident. The infant grew gradually and matures until he reaches the state of manhood; he becomes fully and perfectly human, capable of adult responsibilities. Similarly, the spiritual infant arising from the baptismal waters must grow into the state of the mature Christian This comparison is beautifully expressed in the words attributed to Melchiades:

    The Holy Ghost came upon the water of Baptism, bringing salvation in his downward flight. In the font, he gave beauty to innocence; in Confirmation, he brings an addition to grace. Because in this world at every age those who are to live as Christians, and must walk amid invisible enemies and perils, we are that reborn to life in Baptism, and after Baptism, we are confirmed for the fray. We are washed in Baptism; after Baptism we are strengthened. But if the benefits of rebirth suffice for those who are immediately to pass on, the helps of Confirmation are necessary for those who continue to live. Rebirth of itself saves those who are soon to be received into the peace of the Blessed world, but Confirmation arms and instructs those reserved for the struggles and battles of this world. {17}

B. The Minister of Confirmation

Only a bishop, who alone possesses in virtue of his sacred office the fullness of Christ’s power, is the ordinary minister of this sacrament. This befits its nature as the spiritual consummation of Baptism; the work of perfecting anything belongs properly to a supreme power, although preparations and beginnings may be initiated by those of lesser ability
of capacity. 
    By delegation from the Holy See, given special indult or by the law of the Church, a priest may be constituted the extraordinary minister of Confirmation. So anxious is the Church that the faithful By delegation from the Holy See, given special indult or by the law of the Church, a priest may be constituted the extraordinary minister of Confirmation. So anxious is the Church that the faithful should receive this sacred sign of spiritual fullness and strength, that she delegates the power (when the bishop cannot perform the ceremony) for those Catholics in their parish who because of serious illness, are in danger of death and have not yet been confirmed.
     A patron or sponsor of the same sex as the one receiving the sacrament should be provided although the bishop for sufficient reason may permit one to stand for all the men and one for the women. The conditions required for valid sponsorship and those for lawful sponsorship are comparable to those required for Baptism             (cf. supra, pp. 345-346).
The sponsors are responsible for bringing the conformed to spiritual maturity through instruction, advice and example. This is a grave obligation, and the sponsor must fulfill it themselves if the one confirmed needs such training and it is otherwise unavailable. It must be noted that the spiritual relationship engendered by sponsorship at Confirmation is not an impediment to Matrimony as is the relationship of baptismal sponsors.
 
{14} 29 (Denzinger 465); the Council of Trent, Session VII, 1547, On the Sacraments in General, Canon. I (Denzinger, 844), “On Confirmation,” Canon I (Denzinger, 871).
 {15} Cf. The Second Council of Lyons, Profession of Faith of Michael Paleogus, 1274 (Denzinger, 465); the Council of Florence, Decree for the Armenians, 
{16} 
Summa, III, q. 72, a. 1, ad l.
{17} Letter to the Bishop of Spain; cf. Catechism of the Council of Trent, Part II, Chap. 3, q. 5.
 
VI SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION
    The focal point around which any of the sacraments revolves is the fact that sacraments are symbols of something Holy and that they sanctify man at the instant they are used. Baptism symbolizes the rebirth of the Christian. Born to sin, he is reborn to the life of grace. He is initiated into the divine life of Christ Himself The character of Baptism leaves an indelible mark on the soul of the baptized, a mark which is at the same time a tremendous power, enabling the baptized to take his first gigantic step into sacramental life. Without Baptism man is spiritually stillborn. He cannot even begin to grow and wax strong, full of wisdom and the grace of God  (Luke 2:40) He cannot be Incorporated into the Mystical Body, but must live a spiritual outcast, and an alien to the kingdom of God. 
    Whether or not there are still many who have not even heard that there is a Holy Ghost, Christ has, in fact, sent the Paraclete. While his channels into souls are many, and while he has not disclosed them all to us, we do know by faith that the sacrament of Confirmation is the ordinary means for the Christian to become spiritually mature. This maturity is a reality; it is a growth in grace and a change in life. The soul of the confirmed Christian is sealed with God’s mark; he is set apart, he is different. And just as he is different in what he is, so also should be different in what he does, for the actions of a being manifest its nature. By their fruits you will know them“. (Matthew 7:16)

  If the theology of Confirmation is accurate, why is there so little evidence of the effects of these marvelous graces and of this character that makes men more like to Christ  Perhaps there is more that one would think. A great deal of what one sees depends on where one looks and what one seeks. Surely, however, the accomplishments fall short to the opportunities. Men can always resist grace, and that is a terribly thing. But there are many who do not realize the treasures they possess. And how can they begin to understand the power of Confirmation and the need for the apostate unless some man show them What a tragedy to miss the privilege of a full life in Christ just because one bothered to explain its meaning. There is an apostate of the welleducated Catholic layman on behalf of those who are not so favored.

The following conclusions follow directly from our study of the doctrine concerning Baptism and Confirmation:

1.The permanence of the sacrament of Baptism is something which colors the entire life to the Christian. No diversion can fill up the hollow left in his soul by the loss of grace through sin. Although a man may be the most hardened sinner, he can never completely shake off his Catholic common sense. Baptism incorporates man into the Mystical Body of Christ, and he who tries to forget this, falling back on his puny natural strength, is fighting a losing battle with the omnipotent of God.

2. This is what happens with us, whose model the Lord made Himself. When we are baptized, we are enlightened; being enlightened, we become adopted sons, we are made perfect; and becoming perfect, we are made divine. “I have said,’ it is written, ‘You are gods and all of you the sons of the most High (Psalm 81:6). ” The ceremony is often called free gift“, enlightenment,’ perfection’ and’ cleansing,’ because through it we are completely purified of our sins; “free gift,’ because by it the punishments due to our sins are remitted; enlightenment” , since by it we behold the wondering holy light of salvation, that is, it enables us to see God clearly finally, we call it ‘perfection’ as needing nothing further, for what more does he need who possesses the knowledge” ? {18}

3.Liturgy of the paschal vigil contains a ceremony of profound significance. After the baptismal water has been blessed, the faithful renew their baptismal vows. Lighted candles in hand, they rededicate themselves to Christ by renouncing once again Satan his works and his pomp. Just as the darkness of Christ’s death is pierced by the light of His Resurrection, so also the darkness of sin is pierced by the brilliance of Baptism.

4. The Catholic adult living in the world needs to bring to perfection the graces given him in Confirmation. Too often the sacrament of Confirmation is looked upon as a child’s toy; a present to be played with during childhood and then pushed aside and forgotten at the approach of maturity. We must understand that Confirmation makes us apostles of Jesus Christ, in order that we might profess our baptismal faith to the world. This does not mean that the lay apostles must go about the world preaching and working miracles: rather, he must make use of the intellectual gifts of the Holy Ghostwisdom and understanding, counsel and knowledge. Without perfection these gifts though a continual growth in grace, he cannot be a healthy organ of the Mystical Body.

5.The knowledge of our Holy religion will en kindle in you a love of the Church is the Church, not of one race or of one nation, but of all those who truly believe in his name. The more you dwell upon its teachings, its practice and its history, the stronger will be your unity with the multitude of believers throughout the world. You will clearly understand that the true interests of each part, of each diocese and parish, are the interests of the Church Universal. {19}

6. . . . Whoever lives by the spirit of Christ refuses to let himself be beaten down by the difficulties which oppose him, but on the contrary feels himself impelled to work with all his strength and with the fullest confidence in God. He does not draw back before the straits and the necessities of the moment, but faces their severity, ready to give aid with that love which flees no sacrifice, is stronger than death and will not be quenched by the rushing waters of tribulation. {20}                       
 
7. “For a Christian who is conscience of his responsibilities even toward the least of His brethren, there is no such thing as slothful tranquility nor is there question of light, but of struggle, of action against every inaction and desertion in the great spiritual combat where the stakes are the construction, nay the very soul, of the society of tomorrow. {21}
 
{18} Clement of Alexander, Christ the Educator.
{19} American Bishops Joint Pastoral , 1919
{20} Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Summit Pontificatus.
{21} Pope Pius XII, Christmas Message, 1942

Intro Bapt Conf Pena HolComm HolOrd ExtUnc Matr Confs Sacr Misc TraSit
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