The grace of Confirmation is a most practical one for each of us, even in its extreme form of giving us the supernatural fortitude to suffer and die for the faith. This grace is the source of that extra-ordinary strength and courage which one sees in the martyrs. But there is no need to wait for extreme situations before using this grace of confirmation. Every lay man and woman in modern society has a daily need for divine help to live up to the faith. The difficulty of doing so is becoming greater every day. But this power that we have of professing our faith by confirmation is something akin to the priest’s power of consecrating bread and wine. One is not conscious of it; it must be believed in, and it must be used with faith and confidence.
One way in which that belief and confidence should become manifest, is in courage with which we ought to face all occasions where there is any need to live up to our Catholicity in word or in act, and to face ridicule, scorn, loss, or even injury, by doing so. Once the prudence or the necessity of the action is clear, there should be no more hesitation – no more wondering where the strength is going to come from. For that strength is already ours by the sacrament of confirmation, and all God asks of us is that we admit its divine origin, by an appeal – even by a mute appeal – to Him; He will be with us in the hour of need. Such occasions are numerous nowadays.
One such occasion is when one has to face the superior smiles that are directed to our ‘old fashioned’ notions of Catholic morality, and the strain becomes all the greater when the quiet tide of tacit assumption is slowly but surely carrying the majority away from true Catholic teaching. On such occasions one cannot help feeling unreasonable, provincial, and even childish. But there are times when one has to be a fool for Christ’s sake. There is also a more general need for special help which arises from the fact that we have to ‘die daily’, to die to ourselves and to our own life because of our faith. On all such occasions, we must remember that we are living members of Christ’s Mystical Body, and that in becoming such we have renounced ourselves, and ‘the world, the flesh, and the devil’, and that we are confirmed and strengthened by the promise of God’s grace to meet all such difficulties; we should remember that we have to live up to our membership of Christ – noblesse oblige – and instead of being self conscious by feeling, we should become Christ-conscious by faith. But it is well to remember that although we share in Christ’s strength, we must also share in His prudence, and that supernatural prudence and common sense must govern our conduct in such matters.