Tuesday, January 7, 2014

QUOTATION: The Sacrament of Confirmation

St. Robert Bellarmine
After baptism follows the sacrament of Confirmation, from which may we draw motives to live well, no less powerful than those deducible from baptism; for although baptism be a sacrament more necessary than Confirmation, yet the latter is more noble than the former. This is evident from the minister, the matter and the effect.

The ordinary minister of baptism is a priest, and in case of necessity anyone; the ordinary minister of Confirmation is a Bishop, and by the dispensation of the Pope, only a priest. The matter of baptism is common water, that of Confirmation holy oil mixed with balsam, consecrated by the Bishop. The effect of baptism is grace and a character, such are required to create a spiritual child; according to the words of St. Peter, "As new-born infants desire the rational milk without guile." (1st of St. Peter, xi.)

The effect of Confirmation is also grace and a character, and such are requisite to make a Christian soldier fight against his invisible enemies; according to what St. Paul saith: "For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places" "Quia non est nobis conluctatio adversus carnem et sanguinem sed adversus principes et potestates adversus mundi rectores tenebrarum harum contra spiritalia nequitiae in caelestibus" (Ephesians vi. 12.) In fine, in baptism a little salt is put into the infant’s mouth; in Confirmation a slight blow is given to us, that so the Christian soldier may learn to fight, not by striking, but by enduring.

--St. Robert Bellarmine, The Art of Dying Well