A Study on Acts of Consecration
Whether we Christians realize it or not, one of our primary purposes is to consecrate the world to Jesus. But what does to consecrate even mean? Marriages are consecrated through a holy act of love. Bread and wine are consecrated and transformed into the body and blood of Jesus. Consecration happens when God takes something ordinary and makes it holy. In order to better understand our practical role as Christians on this earth, I want to study how we can be instruments of consecration. How do we take what has been desecrated by the fall of man and transform it into what is sacred?
To understand the process of consecration we must look at the ecology of the sacraments. The sacraments are God's gifts to his Church, the bride of Christ. The sacraments sanctify us and make holy what was once desecrated—once and for all. The most central of the sacraments is the Eucharist, which is more than just a reminder of Jesus' death and resurrection. Through communion, we participate in Jesus' death and resurrection. Through participation in the Holy Supper, our body and spirit undergo the transformation of the cross and the resurrection. We go through the cleansing of the death and resurrection. We are consecrated and enabled to do God's will. Though we may not see any change outwardly, our eyes of faith must know that both bodily and spiritually that we are transforming into the likeness of Christ.
Let's look at the components of consecration. I'm returning to Aristotle's Four Causes for some help here:
|Cause||Components of Consecration|
|Material cause:||Something ordinary|
|Formal cause:||Faith in the transformation to holiness|
|Efficient cause:||Obedience to Christ|
|Final cause:||God's Glory|
It's clear that consecration cannot occur without God. His Spirit is what initiates the process. But interestingly, it also takes an act of faith from man. When Mary, in faith, said "Yes" to God, he took what was ordinary (Mary) and consecrated her through God's son. In fact, in her actual flesh Jesus appeared. Her and God were one. It is also noteworthy to understand that Mary represents the fullness of the Church or the house of Israel. Consecration cannot occur without the Church, the body of Christ.
In summary, the act of consecration is accomplished by God through his Church. It is accomplished by individuals. God takes something ordinary, something with substance, and through the faith and obedience of the individual, it is made holy for the purpose of God's Glory.
Interestingly, we see this same process in most, if not all, of Jesus' miracles. But I want to be practical in this series. I want to look at how to consecrate the world starting with you and me. It is our job after all.
First, we must be clear, we cannot do it alone. We must be a part of the Church. Yes, that means that we must go to church. We must be with God's chosen people. Who are God's people? At the most fundamental level, they are those who have been baptized (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). We cannot consecrate the world without being in relationship with his people—as difficult as those relationships can be.
Now in this study, I'm going to look at practical examples of how to consecrate the world. For each example, I'll look at the ordinary substance (material cause), the act of obedience and faith (efficient cause), the purpose for God's Glory (the final cause) and what was the result (the formal cause). Most of my examples will be simple, but that's where we must start. We should never overlook the opportunity to provide acts of transforming love to the most simple and ordinary of our world.