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 AD.
The rite of Confirmation is anointing 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 give 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 children from age 7 to 18, but generally to adolescents, for example, to a graduating class of grade 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