Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 22 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Maurice and the Theban Legion
home iconChurch
line break icon

A therapeutic oil that represents the Holy Spirit’s work?: Pope Francis explains



May 6, 2018 : Pope Francis imparts the sacrament of Confirmation to a girl with a mitochondrial disease and to her mother during his pastoral visit to the parish of the Blessed Sacrament in Rome.

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 05/30/18

It consecrates and permeates the baptized ...

Pope Francis again took up the theme of the sacrament of confirmation today for his Wednesday audience address, dwelling on the Spirit’s gifts and fruits, as elucidated in Scripture.

He also spoke about the sacred oil, chrism, with which those who receive this sacrament are anointed.

“The oil – chrism – is a therapeutic and cosmetic substance which, entering into the tissues of the body, medicates wounds and perfumes the limbs,” he explained.

Thus, “it was taken up in biblical and liturgical symbolism to express the action of the Holy Spirit that consecrates and permeates the baptized, embellishing him with charisms,” or gifts, the pope said.

“The Sacrament is conferred through the anointment of the forehead with chrism, performed by the bishop with the laying of the hand and through the words: ‘Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ The Holy Spirit is the invisible gift bestowed, and the chrism its visible seal.”


Read more:
Not even the greatest sin can wipe off the mark baptism leaves on our souls

Pope Francis said that with this Sign of the Cross made with the perfumed oil, those who receive the sacrament are thus marked with an “indelible spiritual imprint,” a “character,” which “configures him or her more perfectly to Christ and gives the grace of spreading the ‘good scent’ among men (cf. 2 Cor 2: 15).”

The Holy Father concluded citing an invitation from St. Ambrose to the newly confirmed:

He says: “Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal … and keep what you have received. God the Father has marked you with His sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed His pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts” (De mysteriis, 7: 42; CSEL 73, 106; cf. CCC, 1303). The Spirit is an unmerited gift, to be welcomed with gratitude, making room for its inexhaustible creativity. It is a gift to be conserved with care, to follow with docility, allowing oneself to be moulded like wax by His fiery charity, to “reflect Jesus Christ in today’s world” (Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate, 23).


Read more:
What is an ambry?


Read more:
What are the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit?

Read a full translation of the text here.

Holy SpiritPope FrancisSacraments
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Domitille Farret d'Astiès
Attacked with acid as a baby, Anmol Rodriguez overcomes and inspi...
Esteban Pittaro
Argentine “Mother Teresa” was a former model and actress who embr...
Philip Kosloski
Your body is not a “shell” for your spirit
Our Lady of La Salette
Philip Kosloski
How Our Lady of La Salette can give us hope in darkness
Philip Kosloski
Pray this Psalm when you successfully recover from an illness
Philip Kosloski
An alternative Hail Mary to Our Lady of Sorrows
Cerith Gardiner
12 Habits of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati that every young adult...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.