Confirmation is a sacrament that is necessary for the success of the New Evangelization. The gifts of the Holy Spirit given at Confirmation unite perfectly with the personal nature of the New Evangelization. Our personal encounter with Jesus, which is the message and goal of the New Evangelization, is experience in the reception of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Last Tuesday, Bishop Carl Kemme came to Blessed Sacrament to administer the sacrament of Confirmation to some ninety high school youth of the Parish. The word administer is an institutional and legal word that is necessary and important in the socially ordered reality of the Church. Although the canonical term for the Bishop's action in conferring the sacrament of Confirmation is administer, we must not forget about the personal character of the sacrament. In other words, there is a oneness between the external and internal realities of the Church. The word administer pertains to the external order of the Confirmation ritual whereas the gifts of the Holy Spirit poured out at Confirmation belong to the internal order of the soul.
The internal and personal character of the sacrament of Confirmation is expressed well in the Bishop's prayer effecting the sacrament. The Bishop extends his hands over those to be confirmed and says, "Give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit of wonder and awe." All of these gifts effected by the words of the Bishop are interior to the max. We experience wisdom and understand as part of our thinking life. We experience courage, wonder and awe in our hearts. All of these gifts speak to religious experience and personal transcendence.
When Bishop Kemme administered the sacrament of Confirmation on Tuesday evening he effected an outpouring of the Holy Spirit into the interior lives of our high school Parishioners. He effected and they were affected.
Ad majorem Dei gloriam,
Fr. John F. Jirak
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