Sermon delivered by His Excellency Archbishop
the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Brethren, we are gathered here, coming from far away, coming from
diverse regions, different areas, even other countries, to bring
your children so that they can receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
You have the desire that the Sacrament of Confirmation be given
in an authentic manner to your children. This is a desire that is
certainly legitimate. Oh, I would not go so far as to say that the
Sacrament of Confirmation given today [in the new rite] would not
be valid. It can happen that the sacraments are not valid. In any
case it can occur that the Sacraments are doubtfully valid, that
is, that they are doubtful. For the holy Chrism is the matter of
the Sacrament of Confirmation, and today, unfortunately, it is heard
that the holy Chrism is sometimes made with oils, which, according
to what the writers of theology have taught us - these are not personal
feelings - these matters are doubtful. We have always been taught
that not just any oil can be used to make the holy Chrism.
is why, in the truly tragic circumstances that the Church is passing
through, we well understand your desire to be certain that your
children receive a valid sacrament which, if your children are well
prepared, bestows the Holy Ghost in their souls, so that He can
give them those gifts which are essential to the Christian life.
The gifts of the Holy Ghost are not extra things beyond the necessary.
Not at all! These gifts are truly necessary for all Christian life.
perfect the virtues that we have in us, allow the inspirations of
the Holy Ghost to come in, facilitate the action of the Holy Ghost
in our souls. We need this action of the Holy Ghost. And you, my
dear children, who are going to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation
in a few minutes, you must know that you need the Holy Ghost, precisely
because you are arriving at an age where you are becoming conscious
of your Christian life, of what the Christian life is. And you are
coming to realize, I think, that the Christian life is a combat.
The Christian is a soldier, the Christian is a militant. We are
in the Church Militant, and consequently when you arrive at the
age of ten years, twelve years, you have to struggle. Struggle against
whom? To fight against evil, sin, which is in the world, the sin
which is manifested on all sides in the world, scandal. For what
is scandal? Scandal is the act, which leads to sin. And many scandals
are everywhere, everywhere - in reading material, in that which
can be seen, in that which can be heard. And alas! it all stirs
souls up to go away from God instead of bringing them towards the
Good Lord. So you will have to make decisions from now on by yourselves,
and to say, “This is good. This is bad, I cannot do it." We
have to make choices during our whole life. And it is precisely
to make choices that you need the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
need this help, a help quite particular, brotherly, I could almost
say maternal, on the part of the Holy Ghost, who watches over your
souls. See how the Holy Ghost came down on the Virgin Mary and transformed
her life, the life of the Mother of Jesus. The Holy Ghost descended
on the first Christians even visibly, changing their lives. He descended
on the Apostles on the day of Pentecost. And behold, the Apostles,
who were timid, fearful men, who feared persecution, who shut themselves
in, hid themselves during the persecution of the leaders of that
time - the scribes, the Pharisees - the Apostles became valiant
soldiers, heroes, witnesses, martyrs. They dared to confront anyone.
To those who said to them, "You do not have the right to speak,"
St. Peter answered, "Non possumus non loqui - we
cannot fail to speak. We have to speak; you will put us in prison."
He was chained, St. Peter; and then St. Peter was delivered by an
angel. And they have all done the same thing – the holy popes, the
Apostles, all the successors of the Apostles, and those who have
resolved to follow the Apostles in this testimony that they gave
of their faith. Many of them have given their blood, as a consequence,
to testify for their faith in Our Lord Jesus Christ. That is the
Holy Ghost; without the Holy Ghost they would never have been able
to do that. It is the Holy Ghost who has penetrated them, and who
has given them this strength, this courage that comes from God.
we are convinced that receiving the gifts of the Holy Ghost, you
are going to realize presently that the bishop imposes his hands
on you and enumerates all those gifts of the Holy Ghost that are
going to descend on you. As you have seven virtues, the three theological
virtues - I hope you know them, that someone has taught them to
you - faith, hope, and charity. So also you have the four moral
virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance. You have seven
virtues, and there are likewise seven gifts. And these seven gifts
perfect, complete, the seven virtues that you have in you.
gift of wisdom, the gift of understanding, the gift of knowledge,
which perfect the theological virtues; and then counsel, piety,
fortitude, fear of the Lord, which perfect the four moral virtues
that you have. I hope that you know all that, that someone has taught
it to you, for it is very important to know that the Good Lord has
given us such beautiful things. It is so nice to think that the
Holy Ghost helps us to know the Good Lord. There are some people
who can look at these beautiful things, these beautiful mountains
that we have around us, this magnificent valley, and everything
that you have been able to see today in passing through it, the
beautiful nature that the Good Lord has given us, the magnificent
creatures, splendid things. There are those who look at all those
things and yet never think about the Good Lord. Never! They imagine
that it is man who made that, that man is the master of nature;
and they think only of what man can do with nature. They never think
of singing the praises of the Good Lord, saying, "How beautiful
it is, all these glaciers, this snow, all these colors, these clouds,
these trees, these forests, these flowers, these rivers, all this
that has been given us by the Good Lord." That is nothing,
nothing, nothing, in comparison with what the Good Lord has put
in our hearts and in our souls!
soul is so beautiful! So beautiful is a soul that is virtuous, a
soul that has received the Holy Ghost, a soul that thinks of God,
that is united to the Good Lord, who prays to God, who is a soul
of prayer, who on entering a chapel or a church raises herself towards
the Good Lord, thanks the Good Lord, sings the praises of God, even
in the midst of suffering, even when going through crosses and trials.
And there are so many who have been in the concentration camps,
so many who have been imprisoned and who have rediscovered the faith
in the concentration camps and in the prisons. The Good Lord knows
what He is doing when He sends us trials. If we know how to receive
them, if we know how to welcome them, the crosses, if we know how
to be real fighters, the Good Lord gives us grace, gives us light.
That is what the Holy Ghost does. That is what the Good Lord does
in a few moments, you are going to receive the Sacrament that confirms
the graces you have received at your Baptism. For you received the
Holy Ghost at Baptism, when the priest said, "Exi, immunde
spiritus - go out unclean spirit!" "lmmunde
spiritus." "Go forth from this child!" "Et
da locum Spiritui Sancto - and give place, leave place
for the Holy Ghost!" The priest said that when he pronounced
the words of the Sacrament of Baptism over your souls. "Exi,
immunde spiritus, et da locum Spiritui Sancto."
the Holy Ghost had already taken possession of your hearts and your
souls at the moment of Baptism. But now, when we grow up, Our Lord
has willed that we receive Confirmation, a fullness of the Holy
Ghost, in order to be able to respond to all the difficulties that
we can meet with in exercising our Christian life and to arrive
at last at the goal for which we are created, to reach heaven, to
reach paradise, to come to eternal life. That is why we are created,
that is why we have the gifts of the Holy Ghost. And in this world,
we will keep the gifts of the Holy Ghost, even more. They will blossom
out in such a way that we will be in astonishment at what the Good
Lord has done for us.
we will know God face to face. Here we know Him only by faith, by
our books, by our prayers, by what we can see around us. Just imagine,
the Good Lord! But there we will see Him as He is, and that will
be for us an eternal joy.
thanks, then, to the Good Lord that you are receiving today the
Sacrament of Confirmation. You already know the ceremonies, which
are going to take, place right away, among them the imposition of
hands to bestow the gifts of the Holy Ghost. Then the bishop is
going to sign your forehead with the holy chrism, the holy chrism
which precisely signifies fortitude, and the Sign of the Cross,
which should demonstrate the witness that we are not afraid to bear
before the world, the Sign of the Cross, which is the sign of our
believe in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Crucified." That
is what St. Paul said, "I preach Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ
Crucified." That is what is continued on our altars, during
the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ Crucified.
Let us not be afraid to carry the cross on our foreheads before
the entire world. So that is what the bishop is going to give. Then,
right away, the bishop is going to give you a little blow on the
cheek, which also signifies that you are capable of resisting difficulties
in trials and in temptations.
finally you, yourselves, will pronounce your faith. You will proclaim
your faith by reciting the Credo, the Our Father, the Hail
Mary. And so you will be ready, ready to remain faithful to your
promises. Be faithful, always faithful, to God, faithful to your
obligations, faithful to Our Lord Jesus Christ, faithful to the
most Holy Virgin Mary, faithful also to your dear parents; for they
certainly have only one desire in bringing you here, and that is
to see you continue to preserve the Christian life all through your
life. That will be the greatest repayment that you can give them,
to follow their teaching, to follow their example, to act in such
away that they will have this joy, this consolation, in the midst
of this world, which is in the process of losing the faith, which
is falling apart, collapsing in all the senses of the word, in all
you, dear children, thanks to the faith of your parents, you will
also uphold, you will continue the holy Church of which you are
members, and to which you are attached, and to which your parents
too are firmly attached.
the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Courtesy of the Angelus
Press, Regina Coeli House
2918 Tracy Avenue, Kansas City, MO 64109