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Ask an Apostle: Should I be confirmed again?

Teresa Coda answers your questions this week.
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Q: When I was young, I didn’t really believe in God, but got the sacrament of Confirmation anyway to make my parents happy. Was this wrong? Do I need to get confirmed again now that I’ve returned to the faith? 

—Confirmed Again Catholic

A: Here’s the thing about sacraments: they are, by definition, grace, the free and undeserved outpouring of God’s love and help. There is nothing that we can do to earn or deserve the grace of the sacraments, and that includes having a profound longing for them, or even a belief in God. So long as we desire in some way to receive a sacrament—and this includes the desire to make our parents happy, by my estimation—we are worthy of it (and to be clear, we’re worthy because of our inherent dignity, not because of something we’ve done).

So, no, I don’t think it was wrong to receive the sacrament of Confirmation when you were young, regardless of your personal theology at the time. Who knows? Perhaps the grace of the sacrament planted the seeds of Spirit within your heart that eventually compelled you to return to the faith. We cannot know, but I do tend to think that God moves in surprising and playful ways, and maybe this was one of them.

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Either way, you don’t need to be confirmed again. Part of the character of the sacrament of Confirmation (along with Baptism, Holy Orders, and Marriage) is that it leaves a permanent mark on your soul, and so it shouldn’t be repeated. But if you feel that it would be helpful to revisit the sacrament and recommit to your faith in an outward way, you might consider attending a Confirmation service at your parish (either one for young people or the Easter Vigil, during which adults who have completed R.C.I.A. are welcomed into the church), where you can join the Confirmands in reciting their baptismal promises and celebrating the movement of the Holy Spirit in all of our lives.


About the author

Teresa Coda

Teresa Coda works in parish faith formation. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two young daughters.

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