"A message of peace for all humanity", stated Pope Francis following the taekwondo exhibition at the end of which a long banner was printed with the words "Peace is more precious than triumph". With Confirmation, we receive the gifts of the Spirit, "an indelible spiritual mark, the 'character', which more perfectly configures us to Christ".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "A message of peace for all of humanity", Pope Francis thus defined the quite unusual performance of taekwondo, the Korean martial art, during today's general audience by athletes from the north and south of Korea, while the notes of the Ave Maria resounded and which concluded with the 'exhibition of a long banner with the inscription "Peace is more precious than triumph" (in the photo).
Previously, continuing the cycle of catechesis on the sacrament of Confirmation, Francis had centered his meditation on the seal of the Spirit. With Confirmation, he had said to the 20 thousand people present in Saint Peter's Square, those receiving the sacrament renew their baptismal promises and receive the gifts of the Spirit: it is "an indelible spiritual mark, the 'character', which configures us more perfectly to Christ and gives us the grace to spread its 'good perfume' among men ".
"Before receiving the spiritual anointing that confirms and strengthens the grace of baptism - he said - the confirmands are called to renew the promises made one day by parents and godparents. Now they themselves profess the faith of the Church, ready to respond "I believe" to the questions asked by the Bishop; ready, in particular, to believe "in the Holy Spirit, who is Lord and gives life, and who today, through the sacrament of Confirmation, is in a special way conferred to [them], as already to the Apostles on the day of Pentecost" (Rite of Confirmation, No. 26) ".
"Since the coming of the Spirit requires hearts gathered in prayer (cf. Acts 1: 14), after the silent prayer of the community, the Bishop, keeping his hands extended on the confirmands, implores God to instill in them His Holy Spirit Paraclete. Only one is the Spirit (cf. 1 Cor 12: 4), but by coming to us he brings with him a wealth of gifts: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. (cf. Rite of Confirmation, n. -29) ". "According to the prophet Isaiah (11: 2), these are the seven virtues of the Spirit poured out on the Messiah for the fulfillment of his mission. St. Paul also describes the abundant fruit of the Spirit which is "love, joy, peace, magnanimity, benevolence, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control" (Gal 5:22). The one Spirit distributes the multiple gifts that enrich the one Church: he is the Author of diversity, but at the same time the Creator of unity. Thus the Spirit gives all these riches that are different, but make unity ".
"By tradition attested by the Apostles, the Spirit who completes the grace of baptism is communicated through the laying on of hands (cf. Acts 8: 15-17; 19: 5-6; Heb 6: 2). To this biblical gesture, to better express the outpouring of the Spirit that pervades those who receive it, an anointing of perfumed oil was soon added, called the chrism which has remained in use until today, both in the East and in the West (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1289). The oil is a therapeutic and cosmetic substance, which enters the wounds and perfumes the limbs in the tissues of the medical body; for these qualities he was assumed by the biblical and liturgical symbolism to express the action of the Spirit who consecrates and permeates the baptized, embellishing it with charisms. The sacrament is conferred through the anointing of the chrism on the forehead, performed by the Bishop with the laying on of the hand and through the words: "Receive the seal of the Holy Spirit which is given to you as a gift". The Holy Spirit is the invisible gift bestowed and the chrism is its visible seal. In the image of Christ bearing the seal of the Father on himself (cf. Jn 6:27), this seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service for ever, (cf. CCC, 1295-1296 ). St. Paul explains: "It is God himself who confirms us in Christ and has given us the anointing, he has impressed us with the seal and has given us the deposit of the Spirit in our hearts" (2 Cor 1: 21-22; Eph 1.13) ".
"Let's listen again - the Pope's conclusion – to the invitation of Saint Ambrose to the newly confirmed:" Remember that you have received the spiritual seal [...] and keep what you have received. God the Father has marked you, has confirmed you in Christ the Lord and has placed the Spirit in your heart as a pledge "(De mysteriis 7,42: CSEL 73,106, cf. CCC, 1303). The Spirit is undeservedly a gift, to be welcomed with gratitude, making room for his inexhaustible creativity. It is a gift to be guarded with care, to be accepted with docility, letting oneself be molded, like wax, by its fiery charity, "to reflect Jesus Christ in the world of today" (Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et exsultate, 23) ".