Consecration to God the Father

Visual depiction of the stages of Purification and Consecration to God the Father, as given to Barbara Centilli in Seeing with the eyes of the soul: Revelations of God the Father to all mankind (St Andrews Productions, 2009)

In consecrating ourselves to God the Father, we need to change our lives by somehow preparing our own hearts. In the illustration at the left and the digitized version of the diptych, revealed, ecumenical icon of the Divine Heart below, we have this opportunity spelled out for us. The sources for these are available on this blog through the Links section.

What does consecration mean? The words of Benedict XVI given at the General Audience in Rome {1-25-12) captures the essence of this kind of dedication. Devotions come and go but all must serve our dedication to God. The following are portions of his talk.

“In our continuing catechesis on Christian prayer, we now turn to the priestly prayer which Jesus offered at the Last Supper (cf. Jn17:1-26). Against the backdrop of the Jewish feast of expiation Yom Kippur, Jesus, priest and victim, prays that the Father will glorify him in this, the hour of his sacrifice of reconciliation. He asks the Father to consecrate his disciples, setting them apart and sending them forth to continue his mission in the world. Christ also implores the gift of unity for all those who will believe in him through the preaching of the apostles. His priestly prayer can thus be seen as instituting the Church, the community of the disciples who, through faith in him, are made one and share in his saving mission. In meditating upon the Lord’s priestly prayer, let us ask the Father for the grace to grow in our baptismal consecration and to open our own prayers to the needs of our neighbours and the whole world. Let us also pray, as we have just done in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, for the gift of the visible unity of all Christ’s followers, so that the world may believe in the Son and in the Father who sent him.”

Reflecting on this deepens the concept of consecration as being, first of all, ‘set apart’ and this setting apart has its purpose, its mission. Not just any mission, but to continue Jesus Christ’s own mission in the world. Another important point that our Holy Father made is that this setting apart and mission are accomplished by a deeper immersion in our own baptismal consecration. Any other offering we make of ourselves must be rooted in our original baptismal grace.

Are we not being asked to add our own personal fiat to the great Fiat of Creation, Redemption and Sanctification, to share in Christ’s mission by opening our hearts to the needs of our neighbors and the whole world?