The Sacrament of Confirmation is just what it sounds like: we confirm our Baptism into the Holy Spirit of Christ and into His community, the Church. The grace we receive through Baptism is confirmed, indeed magnified and made more a part of our daily life, through Confirmation.


Fr. Phelan at the altarWe might say that in Baptism, we go gently into the arms of the Spirit, while in Confirmation, we find the strength and commitment to strongly embrace the Spirit. Though a separate Sacrament, Confirmation is an extension and a strengthening of Baptism.


Confirmation also prepares us to be stronger Christians. We are no longer merely infants in faith; we are now confirmed members of the faith, committed to the mission of witnessing for Jesus Christ and living our lives according to His teachings and the Spirit He sends upon us.


The apostle brothers, James and John, help illuminate this definition of Confirmation. When Jesus calls them, they leave their father to follow Jesus. They really don't know precisely what they're getting into, but they are moved to follow the Lord. This is a bit like their Baptism into the way of Jesus.


Parishioners receiving communionAlmost three years later, after Jesus has told the apostles He is going to suffer and be crucified so that He may rise, the mother of James and John asks Jesus if her two sons may sit on His right and left when they enter the Kingdom of God. Jesus turns to the two brothers and asks, "Are you able to drink of the cup that I am about to drink?" Now by this time the brothers have been with Jesus for nearly three years, mostly listening to Him describe the excruciating death which awaits Him, and they do know what they've gotten into. Without hesitation, they answer, "We are able."


That is what we say when we are confirmed. "We are able." We know who and what the Spirit is, and we know the commitment that will be required of us at Confirmation. We are asked to live out, in the joys and sufferings of our daily life, the witness to Jesus as expressed in our faith. And through Confirmation, we answer, "We are able."