First, it’s good to step back and look at what sacraments are and their role in our life. I think we are so used to the sacraments that we forget how essential they are to our Christian faith.
The Catechism says that sacraments “are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us” (Catechism 1131). Without all the big words, this is saying that the sacraments are the primary ways that Jesus set up for us to encounter Him and be transformed into His likeness.
Catholics often speak of grace as sort of a spiritual vitamin or a divine energy boost. That is, we speak of grace as something added to our efforts that makes them holy or fruitful. But this isn’t true. Rather, grace is the very life of God within us, transforming us into God. Next time you go to Mass pay attention to the words the priest says at the altar as he mixes the water and wine, “May we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity.”
Jesus instituted Confirmation then, together with all the other Sacraments, so that we might participate in His Divine Life. The Spirit heals and transforms those who receive him by conforming them to the Son of God. The fruit of the sacramental life is that the Spirit of adoption makes the faithful partakers of the divine nature by uniting them in a living union with the Son of God (Catechism 1129). Thus, in Confirmation, The Holy Spirit anoints the candidate with Himself, bringing the candidate into a more profound union with God.
In other words, Confirmation is not merely something we do, or even something we receive. Rather, it is a necessary moment in God's plan, God's unwavering desire, to draw each one of us deeper into the Life of the Blessed Trinity.
Further, to understand Confirmation we need to look to Pentecost. The Catechism says that the effect of Confirmation “is the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted to the apostles on the day of Pentecost” (1302). The second reading for the Confirmation Mass describes what that outpouring of the Spirit looked like at Pentecost:
“And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim” (Acts 2:2.4).
The book of Acts goes on to say that three thousand people were baptized that day and that the Apostles went on to perform many signs, wonders, and miraculous healings. This is the kind of life that was normal for the first few centuries of the Church. This is the kind of life available to all who are baptized and confirmed. The sacraments fill us with the divine life of God so that all who receive them are able, in Jesus’ name, to do the things Jesus did.
With all that in mind, I want to ask each of you to pray for our Confirmation candidates. Please pray specifically that they will be filled with the Holy Spirit as the Apostles were. Pray that the Spirit will reveal Himself personally to them. Pray that they will be empowered to perform signs and wonders. Pray that they will have a renewed relationship with the Holy Spirit and, like Mary, hear His voice and respond to His promptings throughout their entire life.