While researching the evolution of Christian anointing from Christ through the Restoration, I have grown a deep appreciation for the various Catholic rites that include the use of oil. Baptism, confirmation, ordination, extreme unction, and the recent revitalization of anointing the sick. However, a few days ago I knelt in a Church not far from my home to witness the confirmation of my friend’s son, and I was not prepared to be as moved as I was.
Yes, the music was superb; the censer’s smoke, sweet. The liturgy, without question, is beautiful. But it was the words of the Bishop as he tested the confirmati. He used for his questions the readings in Joel and Romans. He spoke of becoming priests, prophets and kings. He told them that every time they said no to pornography or other sinful behavior, they were strengthening the Church. He talked about how they could receive revelation.
Then he laid his hands on their heads and anointed them with oil, pronouncing, “Be sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
We don’t often remember our own anointings, whether at Kirtland, or the child at Nauvoo in preparation to be sealed to her parents. We forget the eighth day blessings and the preparation for the dying. As I stood and sang the final refrain, “Laudate dominum, laudate dominum, omnes gentes. Alleluia,” I thought to myself, “Yes! All people of the world, praise the Lord.” And these twenty seven sealed before me, I would gladly remember with my own.