In this Sunday’s first reading, we hear about the Sacrament of Confirmation. Philip, one of the Deacons we heard about in last Sunday’s first reading, had gone to Samaria and “proclaimed the Christ to them.” We are told that they had accepted the word of God, and Peter and John went to pray for them so they might receive the Holy Spirit,
“…for as yet the Spirit had not come upon any of them; they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Sometimes Catholics get confused about what the Sacrament of Confirmation is. We accept on faith that Baptism and Confirmation are two separate Sacraments, but why are there two? Did it not “take” the first time?
While preparing for RCIA meetings this year, I came across one of the best analogies I have ever heard to explain this, using pottery.
Pottery is usually fired in a two-stage process. The first firing, known as the “biscuit” or “bisque” firing is the first firing of a piece of pottery, which causes permanent chemical and physical changes in the clay. The second firing, known as the “glaze” or “glost” firing melts the glaze material on to the pottery to seal it, and it is ready to serve its purpose.
In a similar way, we can see how our Baptism makes a permanent change in us – we receive the Holy Spirit, we share in the Risen life of Jesus, and become children of God. At our Confirmation, we receive a strengthening of the gift of the Holy Spirit, and this strengthening empowers us and makes us ready to serve our purpose. What’s yours?