Faith in Times of Trouble

As we advance in our journey toward Christ, new tests of faith will appear before our hearts. Learn to recognize them and understand the importance of a very special one through the following article.

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.” Philippians 1:29

Confirmation is a sacrament administered by the Catholic Church. It is considered among the sacraments of initiation being received in third place, after baptism and the Eucharist, a sacrament by which baptized persons are fully integrated as members of the community. In the ancient Church, the rite was administered sacramentally and immediately after baptism, and this is still the custom in the Orthodox Church.

The sacrament of confirmation symbolizes a crucial stage in the life of a Christian. Facing this test of faith with an open heart and willingness to receive divine grace is fundamental to strengthening our relationship with God and our community. Preparation and a deep understanding of this sacrament help us to affirm our faith and commitment to the Christian life.

"How shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation? This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will." Hebrews  2:3-4

In the Catholic Church from 1600 until the twentieth century, confirmation was postponed between two and seven years after the child's baptism. Since the Second Vatican Council, it has been delegated beyond that, until early adolescence. In fact, for pastoral reasons and as a way to better prepare the confirmands on the threshold of adolescence, the Catholic Church often delays the administration of confirmation.

This delay seeks to ensure that young people understand and appreciate the importance of the sacrament. By receiving confirmation in adolescence, confirmands are at a developmental stage where they can make more conscious decisions about their faith and commitment to God.

This time of preparation includes catechesis, which provides them with a solid foundation in the teachings of the Church and helps them to live their faith in an authentic and mature way.

"One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses." Deuteronomy 19:15

In the Catholic Church, confirmation is performed by the laying on of hands on all confirmands, and anointing with sacred oils (chrismation). In Latin, the sign of the cross made by the bishop on the forehead of the confirmandi was called consignatio. Until the 5th century, the consignatio was distinct from chrismation (anointing with sacred oil), then it was unified into a single rite. The ceremony is performed by a bishop or, where appropriate, an authorized priest.

The act of laying on of hands and anointing symbolizes the reception of the Holy Spirit. This moment is profoundly significant, marking a new chapter in the spiritual life of the confirmand. The presence of the Holy Spirit provides strength, wisdom and discernment to face the challenges of the Christian life. It is a tangible reminder of God's grace and ongoing support in our journey of faith..

“Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Mark 16:20

This sacrament means for the Catholic to make his Faith and continue with it, it encourages ongoing Christian formation and adult catechesis where God chooses them as his children. For the baptized, the sacrament of Confirmation unites them more intimately to the Church and enriches them with a special strength of the Holy Spirit.

In the Anglican Church only bishops administer the sacrament. In the Lutheran and Orthodox churches, the rite is usually performed by pastors and priests. In the East, the laying on of hands quickly disappeared and chrismation is considered the essential element of confirmation.

Confirmation is more than a rite; it is a renewed commitment to Christian life and a reaffirmation of faith. It reminds us of our mission to be witnesses to Christ in the world, strengthened by the Holy Spirit to live according to the principles of the Gospel. This sacrament prepares us to face trials with confidence and hope, knowing that God accompanies us every step of the way.

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