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O most holy Trinity, I acknowledge, with joy, that my Baptism consecrates me to thee, and that I received therein the gift of faith, only that I might adore and honour thee all my life, by works worthy of the unspeakable favour which thou hast bestowed upon me, in associating me, in an especial manner, in the number of thy children, and making me a member of Christ and of his Church. I acknowledge, with joy, that I am bound to continue in myself the sacrifice of thy divine Son, and to form my whole conversation on the model of his life, by loving what he loves, and rejecting what he condemns.
These are my duties, O my God; these are the obligations of my Baptism—the holy and solemn law of my consecration, and of my admission into thy true Church. And although I understood them not when I contracted them, and my will had no part in the sacred contract, far from desiring to rid myself of them on that account, I give thee most hearty thanks, O my heavenly Father, for that thou hast supplied, in thy mercy, my inability to give myself to thee, by inspiring others with the desire of obtaining this great grace for me.
And now I ratify, in my own person, these vows and promises; I confirm and renew them with all my heart, before thy holy altar ; and, confident in the hope of the succours of thy grace, I am resolved to labour all my life to perform all that was promised and transacted in my name by those who answered for me.
O my God, I renounce the devil and his angels; I will hold no communication with him, nor with sinners, who are his ministers; I renounce his service for ever, and submit myself to the law of Jesus Christ; I renounce, with all my heart, his pomps and illusions--that is to say, the maxims and vanities of the world. I will not set my heart on its riches or honours, its pleasures or enjoyments. However poor I may be, I will believe myself truly rich, if I fear thee and love thee, O my God, and keep myself from sin, and am fruitful in good works.
I renounce all the works of the devil : lying, of which he is the father, pride, envy, hatred, and all kinds of sin. I detest them all. I lament, in the bitterness of my soul, all those which I have unhappily committed. I most humbly ask thy pardon for them, and the grace which is needful for me, that I may never fall again therein, but may remain always faithful to those solemn vows which I make before
O eternal Father! who hast vouchsafed to adopt me for thy child in Christ Jesus, and to call me to thy heritage, grant that I may live henceforth only for thy glory, and that all my endeavours may be to attain unto the fruition of thee, in thy glorious kingdom.
o Jesus, only Son of the Father, who hast taken me into thy body, and washed me with thy blood, accomplish in me, I beseech thee, the work which thou hast begun in me; make me to die wholly to sin, and perfect continually in me the new life, which I received in the waters of Baptism.
O Holy Spirit, adorable principle of our divine adoption, and of our new birth in Christ, be to me a spirit of compunction and penitence, that I may weep for my infidelities; a spirit of prayer, that I may never cease from confessing my weakness, and my need of thy powerful assistance ; a spirit of faith and of fervour, to animate me to the performance of my promises; a spirit of mortification and of sacrifice, to keep me constantly watchful over my senses ;-in fine, a spirit of perseverance, to bring me to the end of my course, and to the haven of salvation.
O most holy Virgin, Mother of our Incarnate God, remember that thou art the mother also of all the members of his body ; be, then, the mother of my soul, and by thy powerful intercession, assist me to form again, within my heart, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Angel of God, who hast been appointed to watch over me, and to keep me in the way of salvation, and who hast been the witness of my consecration and my promises, assist me with thy loving care, and by thy prayers, that I may worthily perform the vows that are upon me.
And thou, great Saint, who hast been given me for my patron and protector, and for my example after Christ, offer me to him, to whom thou offeredst thyself all thy life long, as a victim of obedience and penance; and obtain for me grace to sacrifice myself henceforth to the will and glory of God, that I may have part in thy blessedness for ever and ever. Amen.
When the Apostles had heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who, when they were come, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost. For he was not, as yet, come upon any of them ; but they were only baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands upon them, and they received the Holy Ghost. Acts viii. 14-17.
CONFIRMATION is a sacrament, by which the faithful, who have already been made children of God by their baptism, receive the Holy Ghost by the prayer and the imposition of the hands of the Bishops, the successors of the Apostles, in order to their being made strong and perfect Christians, and valiant soldiers of Jesus Christ. It is called Confirmation from its effect, which is, to confirm or strengthen those that receive it in the profession of the true faith; to give them such courage and resolution as to be willing rather to die than to turn from it; and to arm them in general against all their spiritual enemies.
2. This sacrament was originally designed and instituted by our Lord for all Christians, and consequently is a divine ordinance, which all are obliged to comply with. It is so necessary, that the neglect of receive ing it would be a great sin; more especially in circumstances where persons are exposed to persecution on account of their religion, or to other temptations against faith.
3. The principal effects of this sacrament are, a fortifying grace, in order to strengthen the soul against all the visible and invisible enemies of the faith; and a certain dedication and consecration of the soul by the Holy Ghost, the mark of which dedication and consecration is left in the soul as a character, which can never be effaced.
4. Hence this sacrament can be received but once; and it would be a sacrilege to attempt to receive it a second time ; for which reason also the faithful are bound to take extreme care to come to this sacrament duly disposed, lest, if they should be so unhappy as to receive it
in mortal sin, they should receive their own condemnation, and run the risk of being deprived for ever of its grace.
5. Now, the dispositions which the Christian must bring with him to receive worthily the sacrament of Confirmation, must be a purity of conscience, at least from all mortal sin: for which reason he ought to go to confession before he is confirmed; for the Holy Ghost will not come to a soul in which Satan reigns by mortal sin. 2. A sincere desire of giving himself up to the Holy Ghost, to follow the influence of his divine grace, to be his temple for ever, and, by his assistance, to fulfil all the obligations of a soldier of Christ.
6. Hence a Christian ought to prepare himself for this sacrament by fervent prayer, as we find the Apostles prepared themselves for the receiving of the Holy Ghost. They continued with one accord in prayer, says St. Luke (speaking of the ten days that passed between the Ascension of our Lord and Pentecost), and they were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. How happy shall they be, who, like them, prepare themselves for the Holy Ghost by these spiritual exercises !
7. The obligations which accompany the character of Confirmation, and which a Christian takes upon himself when he receives this sacrament, are, to bear a loyal and perpetual allegiance to the great King, in whose service he enlists himself as a soldier; to be true to his standard, the cross of Christ, the mark of which he receives on his forehead; to fight his battles against his enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil; to be faithful unto death; and rather to die than desert from the service, or go over to the enemy by wilful sin. In fine, to live up to the glorious character of a soldier of Christ; and to maintain that interior purity and sanctity which becomes the temple of the Holy Ghos life of prayer and a life of love. Where the character of our confirmation, when we shall bring it before the judgment-seat of Christ, shall be found to have been accompanied with such a life as this, it will shine most gloriously in our souls for all eternity; but if, instead of living up to it, we should be found to have been deserters and rebels, and to have violated this sacred character by a life of sin, it will certainly rise up in judgment against us, it will condemn us at the bar of divine justice, it will cast us deeper into the bottomless pit, and be a mark of eternal ignominy and reproach to our souls amongst the damned.
DEVOTIONS. Before Confirmation, it is proper to make a preparation of some days by frequent and fervent prayer, especially by devout acts of sorrow and contrition (for which purpose the Psalm Miserere may be also used), and by repeated invocations of the Holy Ghost in the hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, or Veni Sancte Spiritus.
The Litany of the Holy Ghost may be also used daily.
Prayer for obtaining right Dispositions for receiving the
Sacrament of Confirmation. O my God, through thy great mercy, I have received three of thy most holy sacraments ; the first to make me thy child, the second to efface the stains which sin had made in my soul, the third to unite me with thy divine Son. Grant, then, I beseech thee, that the sacrament which I am now preparing to receive, may avail to the making me a perfect Christian ; that it may give me strength and courage to combat my evil habits, to overcome all my temptations, to conform myself perfectly to thy law, and to become a true soldier of Jesus Christ, ready to suffer any thing rather than renounce his holy religion, and to maintain it, if need be, even at the peril of my life. This I most earnestly beseech thee, O my God, through the merits of thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee for ever and ever. Amen.
Prayer for the Seven Gifts of the Holy Ghost. O almighty and eternal God, thou hast vouchsafed to adopt me for thy child in the holy sacrament of Baptism ; thou hast granted me the remission of my sins at the tribunal of penance; thou hast made me to sit at thy holy table, and hast fed me with the bread of angels ; perfect in me, I beseech thee, all these benefits. Grant unto me the spirit of Wisdom, that I may despise the perishable things of this world, and love the things that are eternal; the spirit of Understanding, to enlighten me and to give me the knowledge of religion ; the spirit of Counsel, that I may diligently seek the surest ways of pleasing God and obtaining heaven ; the spirit of Fortitude, that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation; the spirit of Knowledge, that I may be enlightened in the ways of God; the spirit of Piety, that I may find the service of God both sweet and amiable; the spirit of Fear, that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God, and may dread in any way to displease him. Seal me, in thy mercy, with the seal of a disciple of Jesus Christ, unto everlasting life ; and grant that, carrying the cross upon my forehead, I may carry it also in my heart, and confessing thee boldly before men, may merit to be one day reckoned in the number of thy elect. Amen.