INSTRUCTION ON THE TUESDAY AFTER
The Introit of
the Mass is:
INTROIT Receive the joy of your
glory, allel.; giving thanks to God, allel.; who hath called you to
a heavenly kingdom, allel., allel., allel. (IV. Esd. 2.) Attend, O
my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
COLLECT Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord,
that the power of the Holy Ghost may be ever present with us to
purify our hearts from sin, and to defend us from all adversity.
VIII. 14-17) In those days, when the apostles that were in Jerusalem
had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto
them Peter and John. Who, when they were come, prayed for them, that
they might receive the Holy Ghost: for he was not as yet come upon
any of them, but they were only baptized in the name of the Lord
Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them and they received the
Is Confirmation a Sacrament?
YES, for it has
the three marks of a Sacrament: the visible sign, the invisible
sanctifying grace, and institution by Christ.
Did Christ institute this Sacrament?
Christ is the
Author of this Sacrament as He is of all the others, with this
difference only, as St. Thomas of Aquin says, that He instituted
this only by promise, for it was necessary that He should die,
should rise from the dead, and ascend into heaven (John XVI. 7.)
before giving the fulness of the Holy Ghost, in which consists the
proper effect of this Sacrament. This according to the tradition of
the Fathers, is the doctrine of the infallible Church. Thus St.
Clement, a disciple of the apostles, writes that St. Peter taught
him, and that the other apostles had also announced it, in
accordance with the command of the Lord. That the apostles
administered this Sacrament by Christ's command, is clear from the
Acts of the Apostles (viii. i4?z7.) which state, that Peter and John
laid their hands upon the newly baptized at Samaria, and prayed over
them, thus imparting to them the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which St.
Paul also did to the baptized at Ephesus. (Acts XIX. 5,
What, is the visible sign in confirmation?
of the bishop's hands, the anointing with holy chrism, and the
words: N. N., I sign thee with the sign of the cross, and confirm
thee with the chrism of salvation, in the name of the Father,
What graces are received in this Sacrament?
gives to those who have been baptized, the Holy Ghost with the
plenitude of His gifts, and thus completes the grace of baptism; for
which reason confirmation is also called by the holy Fathers:
"Completion," "Sealing." It especially gives strength to profess the
faith firmly, and to live in accordance with it, and is therefore
called Confirmation from the Latin confirmare, to strengthen, to
confirm; it elevates man, who has by baptism become a child of God,
to the dignity of a soldier of Christ, enrolls him as a warrior
under the banner of the cross, imprints upon him an indelible mark,
and thus distinguishes him from those who have been baptized, but
not confirmed, and can therefore be received but once.
Who has power to administer confirmation?
ministers of this Sacrament are the bishops only; for according to
the Acts of the Apostles (VIII. 16.) only the apostles and their
successors who are bishops, can impart the Holy Ghost by imposition
What is the holy chrism which the bishop uses in
The holy chrism
which Christ commanded to be used in confirmation, consists of
balsam and olive?oil mixed, and signifies the plenitude of grace
which comes down from Christ through the Holy Ghost upon those to be
confirmed; the balsam represents the good odor of the edifying life
which those confirmed should lead, as said by the apostle: We are a
good odor of Christ; (II Cor. II. 15.) the balsam also indicates,
that as the bodies of the dead are preserved from corruption when
embalmed with it, so the soul by the heavenly grace obtained in
confirmation, is preserved from the infection of sin.
Why is the forehead anointed with chrism in the form of a
To remind the
Christian that he is never to be deterred by either shame or fear
from the public acknowledgment of the name of Jesus, but must fight
valiantly as a true soldier of Christ, under the banner of the
cross, against all the enemies of his salvation.
Why does the bishop impose his hands upon those to be
that the actual imparting of the Holy Ghost is taking place, (Heb.
VI. 2.) and that the person confirmed is placed under God's special
What prayers are said by the bishop while he imposes his
hands upon those to be confirmed?
repeats the following prayers: Almighty, eternal God, who halt
deigned to regenerate these Thy servants by water and the Holy
Ghost, who hast also granted them the remission of all their sins,
pour out from heaven the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit, Thy
The spirit of
wisdom and understanding. Amen.
The spirit of
counsel and of fortitude. Amen.
The spirit of
knowledge and of piety. Amen.
Fill them with
the spirit of fear towards Thee, and sign them with the sign, of the
cross of Christ, granting them eternal life, through the same Jesus
Christ, our Lord, who with Thee in the unity of, the same God,, the
Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth for all, eternity. Amen.
Why does the bishop ask especially for the spirit of the fear
of the Lord?
filial fear of the Lord is the foundation of all good, the beginning
of all wisdom, the fountain of life, and gains for him who possesses
it eternal happiness. (Ps. CXI. 1.)
Why does the bishop give those confirmed a slight blow on the
To remind them
that like Christ and the apostles, they must courageously bear all
adversities and persecutions for the holy faith, and thus obtain
that true peace which the bishop wishes them.
Why do the sponsors lay their right hand on the shoulder of
the one to be confirmed?
To show that
they are witnesses of the renewal of his faith; that they will
exhort him, when necessary, to preserve the faith; that they will
walk before him in the true .path of virtue by good example. (In
regard to the spiritual affinity arising from confirmation, see the
instruction concerning baptism on the feast of the Holy
Is confirmation necessary for salvation?
It is not
absolutely necessary for salvation, but he who having the
opportunity would neglect to receive it, would commit a grievous
sin, even a mortal sin, because he openly shows by this, that he has
no regard for the assistance of the Holy Ghost: Baptism lays the
foundation for the Christian religion, but confirmation crowns the
work baptism has commenced, because in confirmation, as the Roman
Catechism teaches, the form of a true Christian is
What is required of those who are to be confirmed?
They must be in
the state of grace, or purified by a good confession from the sins
committed after baptism, for, to receive this Sacrament while in
mortal sin, would be a sacrilege; they should be well instructed in
the truths of faith, especially in those relating to confirmation;
they should have a sponsor or witness who has been confirmed; they
should arouse in themselves a great desire for the gifts of the Holy
Ghost; they should receive the Sacrament with great reverence and
devotion, and while being confirmed should make the resolution to
become and remain henceforth true, zealous Catholics; finally, those
who are to be confirmed, should never forget that they must be
present from the first imposition of hands by the bishop, because
this is the especial signs to which the granting of the gifts of the
Holy Ghost is annexed. It is seen from all this, that it is not
advisable to allow infants to be confirmed, because they do not know
what they receive, nor can they be properly prepared, and they can
be saved even if they die without confirmation.
What should be done after receiving confirmation?
should remain in church some time, and thank the Holy Ghost for the
graces received; renew the promise to serve God faithfully
henceforth, and to preserve the faith. They should daily show
themselves, by an edifying life, to be true Catholic Christians, and
thus add to the truth that unbelievers may also see the fruits of
confirmation, and learn to love and respect a Church, that gives
such glorious gifts to her children.
PRAYER AFTER CONFIRMATION
[To be said often
during the year.]
I thank Thee, O
Holy Ghost, that Thou bast given me Thy grace in the Sacrament of
Confirmation to strengthen me against all temptations and
persecutions, and I most humbly beseech Thee that by Thy inward
inspirations Thou mayst continually so urge me on, that in all the
dangers to my salvation, I may faithfully cooperate with the graces
I have received, and never from fear or false shame transgress the
commandments of God and the Church. Let me die rather than ever
offend Thee, O Holy Ghost, or refuse to heed Thy inspirations, or
drive Thee from me by mortal sin. Amen.