Through the sacrament of confirmation, Catholics commit to following the path of Jesus and growing spiritually in service to others. Confirmation is a conscious statement of commitment to live by Christ's teachings. Confirmation follows the sacrament of baptism, which is believed to connect one spiritually with Christ.
The Catholic church teaches that everyone undergoing baptism, which usually occurs at infancy or when an individual is converting, should also be confirmed. For those baptized as infants, confirmation is seen as a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood and a more mature understanding of spirituality and Christianity. Personal commitment is critical to the sacrament of confirmation.
A stronger connection with God and Christ and the gifts that come with these connections, along with a growing connection to the church, are understood to be effects of confirmation. Most importantly, confirmation represents one's strengthened association with Christ's mission, evidenced through the faith-based words and deeds of daily life.
A significant part of the confirmation ritual occurs when the priest marks a cross on the foreheads of those being confirmed. This marking is done with a holy oil, called chism, to which the fragrance of balsam is added. The scented oil represents the virtue and the grace that surrounds one following confirmation.