Today's feast reminds us that, like the Apostles, we too have been strengthened and emboldened with the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Today we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit descended on the Apostles in the upper room and emboldened them to courageously share the good news of Christ. The story sounds incredible in Scripture, with the “strong driving wind” and extraordinary “tongues of fire.” But what’s most incredible is that each one of us has participated in Pentecost ourselves, and it’s changed our souls forever.
The Apostles’ experience of Pentecost is the origin of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Just as at Pentecost, this sacrament is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
All Christians are members of God’s family by virtue of Baptism, but receiving Confirmation strengthens and completes the graces first received at Baptism:
It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace. For “by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed. (Catechism 1285)
In fact, like Baptism and Holy Orders, the Sacrament of Confirmation leaves an indelible mark on the soul. Our own participation in Pentecost through this Sacrament has marked us forever. (And if you’re not confirmed, let this be your sign to arrange to receive this sacrament, so you can benefit from its amazing graces!)
Receiving Confirmation strengthens the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us. At times we might not feel that we are living according to these gifts. But we always have access to them, through Christ who endowed us with them. When we keep the channels of grace open, God’s grace can continue to sanctify us.
These are the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit that Confirmation seals in us, just as it did for the Apostles. Just as at the first Pentecost, our souls have been marked forever with these blessings.