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I have often heard our diocese of Argyll and the Isles described as the most beautiful in the world. I wouldn’t disagree with that! However, it is also very large and not without its challenges in getting around.
I am doing a lot of travelling at the moment. Last week I finished a 10-day pastoral visit to the Western Isles and since then I have been in Oban, Bute, Skye and Kingussie. Most of these visits were to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation.
For Catholics Confirmation is one of the seven Sacraments. For all Christians our journey of discipleship begins with baptism.
In Confirmation we are strengthened on that journey by a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the presence of the divine within us.
The bishop confirms when he firstly prays with hands outstretched imploring the Spirit to descend upon the candidates and secondly by anointing their heads with the Oil of Chrism.
Chrism oil is olive oil which has been blessed and then mixed with perfume giving it a sweet scent. The sweet scent is symbolic. In Baptism we were called to die to sin and to live the new life of Christ. Christians are to continue Christ’s ministry: to bring his love and healing into the lives of others – to spread the sweet odour of Christ. Of course, this can be difficult which is why we are strengthened by the Holy Spirit.
We are called to spread the sweet scent of Christ in today’s world. What a beautiful vocation we have!
The Right Reverend Brian McGee, Bishop of Argyll and the Isles.