Catechism of the Catholic Church

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