Exactly, what is consecration ?

A consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, like a consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, whether it is done privately or publicly, is a ritual that is intended to lead the faithful towards a renewed awareness and to revive their Christian commitment so that they may become better witnesses of Christ's merciful love in today's world.

To fully comprehend the reality of a "consecration," it is necessary to remember that the very first consecration that a follower of Christ experiences is through Baptism. This is THE foundational consecration through which, in response to the Love of Christ who gave himself for us, people give themselves to him in return and become Christian.

From the moment we are baptized, we become members of the Mystical Body of Christ that is Church, first through our parents' commitment-as many are baptized at a very young age-and then eventually by our own free will. Baptism is therefore in no way a magical gesture that could occur without one's voluntary participation; it is a commitment that brings about a radical change in the direction of every person's life, having repercussions for the baptized person, for that person's loved ones, and for the world in which we live.

All subsequent consecrations that we may receive throughout our lives are intended to renew and strengthen this fundamental commitment, in the same way that two people renew their marriage vows on the occasion of a jubilee. People, objects, and occasions that are "consecrated," such as ministers of the Lord, churches, objects, feast days, and Sunday, are done so in accordance with the living Christ, his worship, and his mission.

Before the Archdiocese of Montreal will be consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (...just like "the Incarnation has been preceded by the acceptance of her who was predestined to be the mother of His Son, so that just as a woman contributed to death, so also a woman should contribute to life." Lumen Gentium 56), the faithful gathered together at the cathedral will renew their baptismal promises. The archbishop will then officially proclaim the consecration, on behalf of all the members of the archdiocese, in terms that will express everyone's desire to respond in a new way to Jesus Christ's love.

Through this solemn act, through this gesture of consecration, the pastor of the archdiocese will speak for all his people. This recalls the promise that was once made to Moses, "Today the Lord has obtained your agreement : to be a people holy to the Lord your God, as he promised."(Dt 26, 18-19), and the prayer of Jesus himself,"Father, sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the word, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth."(Jn 17:17-19).

And finally, it inevitably calls to mind the ultimate request that Jesus made just before he was arrested, "Father, I desire that those also, whom you gave given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." (Jn 17:24-26).

Father Robert J. Gendreau
Director of the Pastoral Liturgy Service


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