Reflecting on being sealed with the Spirit
Confirmation perfects Baptismal grace” (CCC, 1316). Such a simple statement — with such profound meaning. For when the bishop lays his hands on the Confirmation candidates and later anoints them with sacred chrism, proclaiming, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit,” they are forever changed, with an indelible mark imprinted on their souls for all time.
In experiencing a deepening in the gifts they received at Baptism, the confirmandi “are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witness- es of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed” (CCC, 1285).
Whether we are Confirmation- class catechists or simply instructing other students about the sacraments, our lessons on Confirmation can awaken moments of faith and conversion. It is an opportunity to reflect on the gifts of the Spirit and on the power of a sacrament that sends our students out into the world as witnesses of Truth.
From the Word
Paul then said, ‘John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, in Jesus.’ When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul laid [his] hands on them, the holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. (Acts of the Apostles 19:4-6)
■■What are the effects of Confirmation? (“the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost,” CCC, 1302)
■■How does this come about in the sacrament? (through the laying on of hands, anointing with holy oil, and the words “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”)
■■What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit? (wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord)
1. Pop Go the Saints. Blow up balloons, inserting into each balloon a slip of paper with the name of a saint. (If it is a Confirmation class, use the ones that students have chosen for their Confirmation saints.) Tie a balloon around an ankle of each student and have them scramble to step on and pop each other’s balloons (last one standing wins!) to reveal the saints. Discuss the saints and their areas of patronage (and for Confirmation students, ask why they chose them). Amazing saint stories can really open hearts!
2. What Do You Know? Create a Jeopardy game with questions from the following categories related to Confirmation: Gifts of the Spirit, Fruits of the Spirit, Scripture, The Rite and Signs, and From the Catechism. Teams play to test their knowledge — and, of course, win treats and prizes.
The sacrament of Confirmation leaves an indelible mark, “the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be his witness” (CCC, 1304). Our students are being sent out to do nothing less than changing the world for Christ. Let us equip them well.
Lynn Wehner is a Catholic writer, editor, speaker, and catechist who lives with her husband and their children in Connecticut.
This article was originally published in Catechist magazine, October 2019.
PHOTO: BAYARD, INC./MICHAEL DOYLE