Assisi spirit

From Easter Day 2016 a new translation of the Confirmation Rite has been introduced for use in England and Wales.

The Rite itself is unchanged, only the translation is different.

The new translation is one of the latest of the series of new translations of the Roman Rite, required by the Holy See. The other which comes into force from Easter Sunday this year is the translation of the Order of Celebrating Matrimony. More information about that Order will be provided next week

The most important change in the Order of Confirmation is in the prayer prayed during ‘The Laying on of Hands’.

Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who brought these your servants to new birth
by water and the Holy Spirit, freeing them from sin:
send upon them, O Lord, the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete;
give them the spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the spirit of counsel and fortitude,
the spirit of knowledge and piety;
fill them with the spirit of the fear of the Lord.
Through Christ our Lord.

Some of those words and phrases may be less familiar.

PietaBut counsel and fortitude refer to that resilience and faithfulness that the Spirit gives so we might stand firm and true even in troubled time; piety is a word whose meaning is captured in the Pietà of Michelangelo, displaying piety, the profound love between parent and child, of Mary for Jesus, and in our case, piety is the quality of gratitude, trust, love and affection that we, the children of God, might show to our Father who is God.

Fear of the Lord is an ancient biblical phrase that, does not call us to fear in the most common sense of that word, but to an attitude/response to God that is characterised by proper awe, and respect; where in our behaviour we acknowledge that God is God and creature and we are but creatures – profoundly loved, but creatures all the same.

We might use the prayer during the season of Easter praying for a renewal of the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Fresco of the Holy Spirit. Assisi (c) 2015, Allen Morris.
Pieta, St Peter’s Rome. (c) 2016, Allen Morris