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328

Part Two

Anointing, in Biblical and other ancient symbolism, is rich

in meaning: oil is a sign of abundance and joy;

103

it cleanses

(anointing before and after a bath) and limbers (the anointing of

athletes and wrestlers); oil is a sign of healing, since it is soothing

to bruises and wounds;

104

and it makes radiant with beauty, health,

and strength.

1294

Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramen-

tal life. The pre-baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens

signifies cleansing and strengthening; the anointing of the sick ex-

presses healing and comfort. The post-baptismal anointing with

sacred chrism in Confirmation and ordination is the sign of conse-

cration. By Confirmation Christians, that is, those who are

anointed, share more completely in the mission of Jesus Christ and

the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he is filled, so that their

lives may give off “the aroma of Christ.”

105

1295

By this anointing the confirmand receives the “mark,” the

seal

of theHoly Spirit.Aseal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal

authority, or ownership of an object.

106

Hence soldiers were marked

with their leader’s seal and slaves with their master’s. A seal authen-

ticates a juridical act or document and occasionally makes it secret.

107

1296

Christ himself declared that he was marked with his Fa-

ther’s seal.

108

Christians are also marked with a seal: “It is God who

establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has

put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a

guarantee.”

109

This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belong-

ing to Christ, our enrollment in his service for ever, as well as the

promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial.

110

The celebration of Confirmation

1297

The consecration of the sacred chrism

is an important action that

precedes the celebration of Confirmation, but is in a certainway a part

of it. It is the bishop who, in the course of the Chrism Mass of Holy

Thursday, consecrates the sacred chrism for his whole diocese. In

some Eastern Churches this consecration is even reserved to the

patriarch:

103 Cf.

Deut

11:14;

Pss

23:5; 104:15.

104 Cf.

Isa

1:6;

Lk

10:34.

105

2 Cor

2:15.

106 Cf.

Gen

38:18; 41:42;

Deut

32:34;

CT

8:6.

107 Cf.

1 Kings

21:8;

Jer

32:10;

Isa

29:11.

108 Cf.

Jn

6:27.

109

2 Cor

1:21-22; cf.

Eph

1:13; 4, 30.

110 Cf.

Rev

7:2-3; 9:4;

Ezek

9:4-6.

695

1152

698

1121

1183

1241