Theology of Confirmation
Fundamentally, baptism is about being cleansed of original sin, becoming God’s children, and – having just become configured to Christ – being received into the Church. As a sort of “perfection” of a person’s baptismal configuration to Christ, confirmation is, fundamentally, about discipleship.
By and through confirmation, the Holy Spirit makes more complete (or “perfect”) in the baptized the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit that they first received at their baptism, which enabled them to become disciples.
These supernatural gifts are as follows:
- Wisdom enables persons to prioritize the things of God (spiritual things) over worldly things (material things).
- Understanding enables persons to more fully grasp truth, the mysteries of the Catholic faith, and how they ought act and live as Christ’s disciples.
- Counsel enables persons to know right from wrong.
- Fortitude enables persons to overcome the fear of choosing right and doing good, even when doing so is difficult.
- Knowledge enables persons to more fully understand God’s plan for them and for the world.
- Piety enables persons to praise God and worship Him almost automatically.
- Awe of the Lord enables persons to be aware of the glory and grandeur of God.
When a baptized person is confirmed, he or she becomes wiser, more understanding, more prudent, braver, more knowledgeable, holier, and more in awe of God. Furthermore, confirmation grants to baptized persons the grace they need to continue perfecting these gifts throughout the rest of their lives. By this means, God through the Holy Spirit “confirms” the baptized as his disciples and, at the same time, the baptized, by being confirmed, “confirm” to God publicly and before the Church that they do indeed choose, freely and by their own volition, to be Christ’s disciples and enter into full communion with the Church.
Arranging a Confirmation
Persons who were baptized as infants or small children were freed from original sin and entered into the Church as infants. However, since Christian initiation, which Confirmation completes, requires an act of faith on the part of the person being initiated, and since the cognition that is necessary to make such an act of faith is absent in infants and small children, the Church delays Confirmation until the child is old enough to make an act of faith and, thereby, both receive and give witness to a “confirmation” of faith that this sacrament, of the same name, confers. In the Church, that delay occurs until at least the age of 7; the normal age at which children are confirmed at St. Columbkille is 14.
Adults who are seeking Confirmation are encouraged to enroll in St. Columbkille’s Rite of Christian Initiation program. More information about this is available by clicking on the RCIA page.