Learning to Rely on the Power
of the Holy Spirit
When we are confirmed, the sign of the Sacrament of Confirmation is the anointing with Sacred Chrism on the forehead. In the Old and New Testaments, an anointing with oil was given to Kings, Priests and some Prophets. Anointing with oil symbolizes the Holy Spirit. The words "Messiah" and "Christ" and so "Christian" mean "anointed" by the Spirit. By Confirmation, Christians — the anointed ones — share more fully in the mission of Jesus and in the fullness of the Spirit with whom He is filled.
When we are confirmed, we receive a spiritual mark or seal, and a seal indicates the owner of an object. Jesus was sealed by the Father. St. Paul writes:
"It is God who establishes us with you in Christ, and has commissioned us; he has put his seal upon us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." (2 Corinthians 1:21--22)
"This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service forever, as well as the promise of divine protection" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, § 1296).
Obviously this seal presumes that we want to belong completely to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
This anointing with the Holy Spirit will give Christians (anointed ones) power to carry out their God-given responsibilities. The Holy Spirit is the source of our power in serving God and His people. The anointing means that we are to be instruments of the Spirit. We must learn to be instruments, available to His leadings and power. We were not confirmed merely to strengthen our own efforts as we strive to live as mature Christians. Although we can accomplish much by our own efforts and take credit for our own efforts, it is not by our own efforts that we come to maturity as baptized and confirmed Christians. To live a divine life, a life in Christ, like Jesus we must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit. We mature by becoming instruments of Jesus and the Spirit. We become mature by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.
"You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you." (Acts 1:8)
"But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression and to Israel his sin." (Micah 3:8)
"Then he said to me, 'This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.'" (Zechariah 4:6)
"And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you; but stay in the city, until you are clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24:49)
". . . by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Holy Spirit, so that from Jerusalem and as far round as Illyricum I have fully preached the gospel of Christ." (Romans 15:19)
God never intends that we live our lives by our own perceptions, resolve, perseverance and power. Then we, living in the kingdom of self, would take credit for our accomplishments. Jesus and the Spirit always intend that we live in the Kingdom of God, relying on the power of the Holy Spirit, and so giving God the glory and credit for our accomplishments. We are not expected to live a Divine life by Human good will and power. We can live a Divine Life only with Divine Power, the power provided by the Holy Spirit. So often we find Christians who claim they cannot live the commandments of God and the Church, and so reinterpret them or follow their own conscience. Usually these Christians have not been helped to surrender to Jesus as Lord of their lives and to the Spirit as the one who can empower them to live the Christian life.
Our anointing and confirmation hinges on our becoming instruments of the Holy Spirit!
We must grow strong in turning our lives over unreservedly to this Divine Person!