Fall 1964

Page 68

Confirmation 181 couched in the general terms that the Spirit given in confirmation as contrasted to his simple conferral in baptism was the fullness of the Spirit. The scholastics too mentioned different factors which would distinguish this second giving of the Spirit from baptism, some saying that the Spirit was given for strength in confirmation after being conferred for remission of sins in hap· tism, others saying that the Spirit in confirmation enabled the re· cipients to become full Christians. But the difficulty in these and other solutions proposed is that they did not specify just how or why the reception of the Spirit in confirmation should be special. Granted that the same uncreated Spirit is poured out in every communication of grace, one must look for the difference not in the Spirit but in the particular created effect which is received through confirmation. In this connection recent advances in sac· ramental theology, especially in the symbolic value of the sacraments, have made notable contributions. FRANSEN: LIFE OF CHRIST REPEATED IN FAITHFUL

Piet Fransen, S.J ., who teaches in the Flemish theologate at Heverlee near Louvain, offers an explanation to show how confirmation is in a special way the sacrament of the gift of the Spirit. It is based on the analogy of faith, a comparison between mysteries which results in better understanding. If one considers the redemption as a perfecting of men in the model of Christ, the only truly perfect man and the obedient, loving Son of the Father, Scripture at least implies that the titles filius hominis and Servus Yahweh apply to all Christians in a corporate sense. We are all to become servi in Servo and filii in Filio through grace. But if this is true, then the role of the Spirit in the life of Christ is very important for our own Christian activity, for he should play a similar role in our lives. In the New Testament Christ's life began under the shadow of the Spirit at his conception; his life before the Jewish people was inaugurated with an outpouring of the Spirit at his baptism. But just as the Spirit is the principle of grace and new life in Christ, so the Spirit is to assist the Christian both when he receives new life in baptism and when he enters into public life before the Church in confirmation. Fransen's principle would be the following: that which the Spirit has fundamentally effected in the person of Christ he has corporately