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Sacrament of confirmation imparts gifts needed to defend the faith, Pope says

In remarks for yesterday's Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square, Pope Francis reflected on the importance of the sacrament of confirmation as a sacrament which gives believers the strength to proclaim the faith and be witnesses to it through the power of the Holy Spirit, explaining that it is "inextricably" linked to our baptism. “It unites us more firmly to Christ,” the Holy Father said, “it strengthens our relationship with the Church and it gives us a special strength from the Holy Spirit to defend the faith and confess the name of Christ.”

Pope Francis reminded crowds at yesterday's Wednesday General Audience of the importance of the sacrament of confirmation.
Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

“Confirmation, together with baptism and the Eucharist, is one of the sacraments of Christian initiation,” taught the Pontiff, noting that with baptism and the eucharist, it is a part “of the unique process of Christian initiation, through which we are gradually inserted in Christ, dead and risen, and we receive a new life, making us members of the Church.” The very word confirmation “indicates that this sacrament ratifies baptismal grace,” saying that when we are confirmed “through the sacramental sign of anointing with sacred chrism, we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in order to be more closely conformed to Christ, God’s ‘anointed one.’”

“We are also strengthened – ‘confirmed’ – in the grace of our Baptism and in our mission of bearing daily witness to Christ and his love,” Francis said, "confirmation is God’s work,” The sacrament “ensures that our life be embodied in the image of his son, for us to love like him, infusing his Holy Spirit.”

“This Spirit acts with strength within us, within all people and during one’s whole life,” he emphasized, highlighting that “when we receive him in our hearts, Christ makes himself present and takes shape in our lives,” the Pope declared.

“It is He who prays, forgives, infuses hope, serves the brothers most in need, creates communion and seeds peace in our lives. It is He who does that!” The Holy Father then turned to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. “Spiritual gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.” Pope Francis then urged the crowds in the square to “ask that, filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit, we may always mirror Christ’s presence in our relations with others, our openness to those in need, and our living witness to the Gospel message of joy and peace.”

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