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.

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.”

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 a full translation of the text here.

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