Confirmation (or Chrismation) is the Sacrament of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit whom Christ Jesus sent (John 7:37-39, 16:7). Jesus instructed His Apostles that, ‘You will receive the power of the Holy Spirit’ and called upon the Apostles to be His ‘witnesses’ to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). At the Pentecost, the Apostles were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), and began to spread the Word of God. The Acts of the Apostles is often called the Gospel of the Holy Spirit. St. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote of Baptism,Eucharist, and this sacrament in the mid-fourth century A. D.
The rite of Confirmation is the anointing of the forehead with chrism, together with the laying on of the minister’s hands and the words, ‘Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy Spirit.’ The recipient receives the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord (Isaiah 11:2-3). On occasion, one may receive one or more of the charismatic gifts of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:7-11).
The ecclesial effect and sacramental grace of the sacrament gives the recipient the strength and character to witness for Jesus Christ. The East continues the tradition of the early Christian Church by administering the sacrament with Baptism. Confirmation in the West is administered by the Bishop to teenagers from ages 15 to 18, but generally to adolescents, for example, to a graduating class of high school children. Key Scriptural sources for Confirmation are the following, (See also John 16:7; Acts 1:4-5, 2:1-4, 2:38, 10:44-48):
When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together, and suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim. Acts of the Apostles 2: 1-4
Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit. Acts of the Apostles 8: 14-17
While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have never even heard that there is aHoly Spirit. Andhe said, ‘Into what then were you baptised?’ They said, ‘Into John’s baptism.’ And Paul said, ‘John baptised with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.’ On hearing this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Acts of the Apostles 19: 1-6