Pope Francis "God the Father has marked you, has confirmed you Christ the Lord and has placed the Spirit in your heart as a pledge..." FULL TEXT + Video


St. Peter's Square
Wednesday, 30 May 2018

 Catechesis on Confirmation. 2: The seal of the Spirit

Dear brothers and sisters,

Continuing the topic of Confirmation or Confirmation, I wish today to highlight the "intimate connection of this sacrament with all Christian initiation" (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 71).

Before receiving the spiritual anointing that confirms and strengthens the grace of baptism, the confirmations are called to renew the promises made one day by parents and godparents. Now they are themselves to profess the faith of the Church, ready to respond "I believe" to the questions asked by the Bishop; ready, in particular, to believe "in the Holy Spirit, who is Lord and gives life, and who today, through the sacrament of Confirmation, is in a special way to [them] conferred, as already to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost" (Rite of Confirmation, No. 26).

Since the coming of the Holy Spirit requires hearts gathered in prayer (cf. Acts 1: 14), after the silent prayer of the community, the Bishop, keeping his hands extended on the confirmants, begs God to infuse in them his holy Spirit Paraclete. Only one is the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 12: 4), but by coming to us he brings with him a wealth of gifts: wisdom, intellect, counsel, fortitude, science, piety and holy fear of God (cf. Rite of Confirmation, n. -29). We have heard the passage of the Bible with these gifts that the Holy Spirit brings. According to the prophet Isaiah (11: 2), these are the seven virtues of the Spirit poured out on the Messiah for the fulfillment of his mission. St. Paul also describes the abundant fruit of the Spirit which is "love, joy, peace, magnanimity, benevolence, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control" (Gal 5:22). The one Spirit distributes the multiple gifts that enrich the one Church: he is the Author of diversity, but at the same time the Creator of unity. Thus the Spirit gives all these riches that are different but in the same way makes harmony, that is, the unity of all these spiritual riches that we Christians have.

Traditionally attested by the Apostles, the Spirit who completes the grace of baptism is communicated through the laying on of hands (cf. Acts 8: 15-17; 19: 5-6; Heb 6: 2). To this biblical gesture, to better express the outpouring of the Spirit that pervades those who receive it, an anointing of perfumed oil, called crisma [1], has been added, and has remained in use to this day, both in the East and in the West ( cf Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1289).

The oil - the chrism - is a therapeutic and cosmetic substance, which enters the wounds and perfumes the limbs in the tissues of the medical body; for these qualities he was assumed by the biblical and liturgical symbolism to express the action of the Holy Spirit who consecrates and permeates the baptized, embellishing it with charisms. The Sacrament is conferred by the anointing of the chrism on the forehead, accomplished by the Bishop with the laying on of the hand and through the words: "Receive the seal of the Holy Spirit that is given to you as a gift". [2] The Holy Spirit is the invisible gift bestowed and the chrism is its visible seal.

Receiving the sign of the cross on the forehead with the perfumed oil, the confirmed therefore receives an indelible spiritual imprint, the "character", which configures it more perfectly to Christ and gives him the grace to spread the "good smell" among men ( cf. 2 Cor 2:15).

Let's listen again to the invitation of Saint Ambrose to the newly established. He says: "Remember that you have received the spiritual seal [...] and keep what you have received. God the Father has marked you, has confirmed you Christ the Lord and has placed the Spirit in your heart as a pledge "(De mysteriis 7,42: CSEL 73,106, cf. CCC, 1303). The Spirit is undeservedly a gift, to be welcomed with gratitude, making room for his inexhaustible creativity. It is a gift to be guarded with care, to be adept with docility, letting oneself be molded, like wax, by its fiery charity, "to reflect Jesus Christ in the world of today" (Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate, 23).
Je salue cordialement les pèlerins de langue française, provenant de France et d’autres pays francophones. Je salue en particulier les étudiants de Strasbourg et les jeunes de Nice, Avignon et Seix. Chers frères et sœurs, je vous invite à accueillir en vous avec gratitude les dons du Saint Esprit, « pour refléter Jésus Christ dans le monde d’aujourd’hui » ! Que Dieu vous bénisse !
I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, particularly those from England, Scotland, Korea, Indonesia, Singapore, Australia and the United States of America. I thank the Korean athletes for their presentation: this has been a display of the commitment to peace, representing the two Koreas together! A message of peace for all of humanity! Thank you! I also offer a prayerful greeting to the Felician Sisters presently celebrating their General Chapter. Upon all of you, and your families, I invoke the joy and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ. God bless you!
Mit Freude heiße ich die Pilger deutscher Sprache willkommen. Der Heilige Geist ist das große Geschenk, das der Herr uns gibt. So ist es wichtig, dass alle Gläubigen das Sakrament der Firmung empfangen, um die Taufgnade in Fülle zu leben und authentische Zeugen Christi in der Welt zu sein. Der Heilige Geist erfülle uns mit seinen reichen Gaben.
Saludo cordialmente a los peregrinos de lengua española, en modo particular a los grupos provenientes de España y América Latina. Los animo a acoger y custodiar con gratitud y docilidad este hermoso regalo que nos da Dios, que es su Espíritu, de modo que el fuego de su amor plasme en nosotros la imagen de Jesús para poder ser discípulos misioneros en el mundo de hoy. Que el Señor los bendiga. Muchas gracias.
Com grande estima, saúdo os peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em particular os grupos brasileiros de Criciúma, Imbuí e Trindade e também o Colégio Horizonte de Vila Nova de Gaia. A todos vos desejo uma maior consciência e uma escuta fiel do Espírito Santo, o doce Hóspede das vossas almas, que vos faça fortes na fé e corajosos no testemunho cristão. Sobre vós e vossas famílias desça a Bênção do Senhor.
أُرحّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللّغةِ العربيّة، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. أيّها الإخوةُ والأخواتُ الأعزّاء، في سرّ التثبيتطبَعَنا الله الآب وثبَّتنا المسيح ووضع في قلوبنا ضمانة الروح القدس. لنحافظ على هذه العطيّة بعناية ولنسمح لها بأن تطبعنا كالشمع بمحبّتها المُتَّقِدة، لكي نعكس صورة المسيح في العالم. ليبارككم الرب!
Witam serdecznie pielgrzymów polskich. Niech pobyt w Rzymie umocni was w wierze, nadziei i miłości. Szczególne pozdrowienie kieruję do tych wszystkich, którzy w sobotę będą uczestniczyli w Spotkaniu Młodych na Lednicy, by rozważyć słowa Pana Jezusa: „Ja jestem z wami przez wszystkie dni”. Cieszę się waszą inicjatywą i obecnością. Drodzy młodzi, bądźcie pewni, że On zawsze postrzega was jako cenny dla świata skarb. W każdej chwili także wy wpatrujcie się w oblicze Bożego Syna, gdziekolwiek jesteście, cokolwiek przychodzi wam czynić. Tylko wówczas będziecie mogli zobaczyć, jacy naprawdę jesteście. Oddajcie Mu swój umysł, swoje dłonie, ciało, by dzięki wam mógł dotrzeć do tych, którzy potrzebują pomocy. Świętując na Lednicy stulecie odzyskania niepodległości waszej Ojczyny, gestem, jaki zwykł czynić św. Jan Paweł II, ucałujcie polską ziemię także w moim imieniu. Zawierzam was opiece Maryi Królowej Polski i z serca błogosławię.
After Greetings:
I extend a cordial welcome to the faithful of the Italian language.

I am pleased to welcome the participants in the General Chapter of the Sisters of San Felice da Cantalice; the Priests and Seminarians of the Roman Colleges and Convents, the Deacons of the Pontifical Urban College in Rome; the Religious of the Mater Ecclesiae Missionary College in Castel Gandolfo and the Ordo Viduarum Group.

I greet the parishes of Oppido Lucano and of Furci; the Roller House Association of Osimo, accompanied by the Bishop, Monsignor Claudio Giuliodori; the Marshals and Brigadier School of the Carabinieri of Velletri; the Association The spirit of the planet and the Istituto Castelli di Brescia Foundation.

A special thought for the young, the elderly, the sick and the newlyweds. Tomorrow we conclude the Marian month. May the Mother of God be your refuge in happy moments, as well as in the most difficult ones, and be the guide of your families, so that they may become a domestic home of prayer, mutual understanding and gift.

[1] Here is a passage from the prayer of blessing of the chrism: "Now we pray you, Father: sanctify with your blessing this oil, gift of your providence; imbue it with the power of your Spirit and with the power that emanates from the Christ whose holy name is called the chrism the oil that consecrates priests, kings, prophets and martyrs. [...] This anointing penetrates them and sanctifies them, because free from the native corruption, and consecrated temple of your glory, spread the perfume of a holy life "(Blessing of the oils, n.22).

[2] The formula "receiving the Holy Spirit" - "the gift of the Holy Spirit" occurs in Jn 20,22, Acts 2,38 and 10,45-47.