"Recall then that you have received the Spiritual seal, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of right judgment and courage, the Spirit of knowledge and reverence, the Spirit of holy fear in God's presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with His sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed His pledge, the Spirit, in your hearts." (St. Ambrose)
The laying on of hands is one of the oldest sacraments of the Church. In the book of Acts the Apostles laid their hands on believers so that they would receive the Holy Spirit. This rite of laying on hands became connected to Baptism, and the two formed one rite. My children were baptized as infants, so the laying on of hands has delayed until an age of maturity (the Church usually considers that to be between the ages of 12 and 16) to make their own, mature confession of faith. Today my youngest son received the Sacrament, and was filled with the Holy Spirit. Today, just as in the Early Church, our Bishop placed his hands on my son's head and he prayed for the Holy Spirit to fill him with grace and strength.
This Confirmation was especially poignant to me today. Yesterday my son was in a hit an run accident, right outside his work. He had walked out and a speeding truck rounded the building and hit him. When I got there the police and ambulance crew were there, working him up on a back board. Seeing my child bloody and strapped to a gurney is something I never, ever want to see again. His injuries were pretty scary looking but in the end, mostly superficial, though he did break two teeth.
It never ceases to amaze me how the Lectionary Scriptures speak into the events of my life. Today's Gospel was the Prodigal Son, and the father running to greet his son took on much greater meaning to me today, as I had ran to my own son's side yesterday.
By the sacrament of Confirmation, he as a baptized adult is more perfectly bound to the Church and I firmly believe that his life will be enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. He has grown into a good, strong young man in the Faith, and I am proud of him.
Defend, O Lord, Your servant, with Your heavenly grace,
that he may continue Yours for ever, and daily increase in
Your Holy Spirit more and more, until he comes to Your everlasting kingdom.