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제목 The Rites of the Sacrament of Confirmation(2018-08-12)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2018-08-13





The Rites of the Sacrament of Confirmation(2018-08-12)


Introduction


 Very soon Bishop de Galarreta will come and give the Sacrament of Confirmation to some of you. Fr Onoda asked me to use the opportunity of this sermon to remind you of the Sacrament of Confirmation, especially of the meaning of its liturgy.


The sacraments in general


 The Sacraments in general are outward signs instituted by Jesus Christ in order to produce or increase grace in our soul. We, human beings, cannot see with our bodily eyes the grace of God. So in His wisdom, Our Lord Jesus has established the sacraments, that is to say some words, material elements like water, olive oil, and some specific gestures by which grace would be communicated to us. And we, seeing these gestures and these material elements, hearing these words, we would know with certainty if grace was communicated to us or not.
 

 Our Lord Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Confirmation in order to communicate to us the grace of spiritual adulthood. We are spiritually born as children of God by Baptism; we reach by Confirmation the fullness of our spiritual strength, and we become soldiers of Jesus Christ, capable to fight, to endure hardships for Christ and obtain the spiritual victory against the devil, the world and our own concupiscence.
 

The liturgy of the Sacrament of Confirmation


 In the Sacrament of confirmation, like in all Sacraments, we must distinguish 2 types of elements: the essential elements necessary for the validity of the Sacrament, and the surrounding ceremonies and prayers of which purposes are to signify the effects of the Sacrament and to dispose the faithful to receive them well.
 

● The essential elements necessary for the validity of the Sacrament of Confirmation are the invocation of the Holy Ghost, the imposition of hands and the unction with Holy Chrism.


● The surrounding ceremonies in the Traditional rite are as follows: the bishop, holding his hands over those to be confirmed, prays for them and then makes the sign of the Cross on the forehead of each one with the holy oil of Chrism while saying the proper words; He then taps each person lightly on the cheek.


Let us explain the meaning of this ceremonies:


- The bishop is usually the one to give the Sacrament of Confirmation because Confirmation gives spiritual maturity and strength, and therefore it belongs to the one having the fullness of the priestly powers, namely the bishop, to give this maturity to the faithful.


- The bishop holds his hands over those to be confirmed and prays the Holy Ghost for them. We see in the Acts of the apostles that it was in this manner that the Apostles gave the Sacrament of Confirmation: “The Samaritans were only baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands upon them and they received the Holy Ghost” (Act 8;14.17).


- The bishop makes an unction on the forehead, using Holy Chrism. Holy Chrism is a mixture of olive oil and balm. Olive oil, by its unctuous nature is a symbol of the fullness of grace; balm is a precious sap and its most pleasant fragrance signifies the sweet perfume of virtues which Christians, made perfect by Confirmation, should diffuse around. Moreover olive oil has two particularities when applied to our body: it penetrates the skin smoothly and it softens the muscles. Especially in old times the fighters used to rub their muscles with olive oil as a preparation to fight. Olive oil therefore symbolises how the Holy Ghost penetrates our soul smoothly with His grace and fortifies us in such a way to make us capable to fight for Christ.


- The bishop makes the sign of the Cross on the forehead because Confirmation makes us become soldiers of Christ, and so we are marked with the banner of Christ the King, that is to say the sign of the Cross by which Christ defeated the devil.


 And this sign of the Cross is done on the forehead to signify that our mind and will must be directed towards God. The forehead being the most visible part of our body, to be marked with the cross on the forehead means that the sacrament of confirmation gives us the courage to profess Christ publicly without any fear or shame.
 

- At last, the bishop gives a tap on the cheek to remind those confirmed that they must be ready to suffer all things, even death, for the sake of Jesus Christ.


- The words, used by the bishop while anointing, express these meaning of the ceremony: “I sign you with 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.”


The new rite of the Confirmation


 The rites of the sacrament of Confirmation have been reformed by the Modernists in 1970. What must we think of this reform, is it a good reform or not? The answer is: no, it was not a good reform for the following reasons:
 

● First of all Pope Paul VI allowed the use of any vegetable oil for preparing Holy Chrism under the reason that olive oil was not easily obtained in some parts of the world. But always the theologians and the Popes considered olive oil as being necessary for the validity of the Sacrament because at the time of Our Lord Jesus, olive oil was only the available oil and therefore it must be olive oil which has been selected to be the matter of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Nobody can change this. Moreover, the reason given by Pope Paul VI was not really true: to get olive oil in our days anywhere in the world has become quite easy thanks to the development of means of communication. So, we are not sure of the validity of the sacrament of Confirmation given in the new rite and that is why some of you, already confirmed in the new rite will be confirmed again under condition.


● Secondly the surrounding ceremonies have been modified as well: the bishop together with the priests impose the hands on those to be confirmed and the bishop pray God to send the Holy Ghost. Then the bishop will do the anointing saying: “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit”. And after this, the bishop says some word of encouragement to the confirmed with a friendly gesture instead of the tap on the cheek. This liturgy, in its words and ceremonies, weakens the meaning of Confirmation: it insists on the gift of the Holy Ghost but does not express anymore the main effect of Confirmation which is to make us be fighters for Christ against his enemies. The modernists, who preach religious liberty everywhere, don’t want of course Catholics ready to fight for the kingship of Christ in the world. Pope Francis even said not long ago that to try to convert people of other religion to Catholicism is a sin!


Conclusion:


 For these reasons, we cannot accept the new liturgy and the reforms of the sacrament of Confirmation: they make it be probably invalid and certainly it weakens our faith by not expressing what Confirmation is in truth.
 

 For those who are going to receive the sacrament of Confirmation soon, continue to prepare yourselves carefully by praying, doing penances, good readings and charitable actions. It is in this manner that the apostles prepare themselves to receive the Holy Ghost on Pentecost day.
 

 For the others who have already received the sacrament of Confirmation, take occasion of the coming ceremony to remember your own Confirmation: to remember that you have in your soul the character of Confirmation, the character of being a soldier of Christ, that you have been given the strength to witness Christ in all occasions and to become saints. Let us therefore not put obstacle against the action of the Holy Ghost in us by our spiritual laziness and negligence. 


Fr. E. Demornex