Consecration, Consecration Definition, What is Consecration?

Consecration

1. The act, process, or ceremony of consecrating.
2. The state of being consecrated.
3. The part of the Mass (Roman Catholic Church) after the sermon during which the bread and wine are believed to change into the Body and Blood of Christ.

The Bible says, "You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 20:7).

Consecration Definition


1. The act, process, or ceremony of consecrating.
2. The state of being consecrated.
3. The part of the Mass (Roman Catholic Church) after the sermon during which the bread and wine are believed to change into the Body and Blood of Christ.

Noun 1. consecration - a solemn commitment of your life or your time to some cherished purpose (to a service or a goal); "his consecration to study"
allegiance, commitment, loyalty, dedication - the act of binding yourself (intellectually or emotionally) to a course of action; "his long commitment to public service"; "they felt no loyalty to a losing team"

Noun 2. consecration - (religion) sanctification of something by setting it apart (usually with religious rites) as dedicated to God; "the Cardinal attended the consecration of the church"
sanctification - a religious ceremony in which something is made holy.

The Bible says, "You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I am the Lord your God" (Leviticus 20:7).

A technical definition of consecration means that you are to set yourself apart from evil, turn to the Lord, and be prepared to be used by God.

What is Consecration?


Consecration, in general, is an act by which a thing is separated from a common and profane to a sacred use, or by which a person or thing is dedicated to the service and worship of God by prayers, rites, and ceremonies. The race of Abraham and the tribe of Levi were thus consecrated (Ex 13:2, 12, 15; Num 3:12). The Hebrews devoted their fields and cattle, and sometimes the spoils of war, to the Lord (Lev 27:28, 29). According to the Mosaic law the first-born both of man and beast were consecrated to God. The custom of consecrating persons to the Divine service and things to serve in the worship of God may be traced to the remotest times. We find rites of consecration mentioned in the early cult of the Egyptians and other pagan nations. Among the Semitic tribes it consisted in the threefold act of separating, sanctifying, or purifying, and devoting or offering to the deity, or their false god or gods. In the Hebrew Law we find it applied to the entire people whom Moses, by a solemn act of consecration, designates as the People of God. As described in the Book of Exodus (24), the rite used on this occasion consisted
  • of the erection of an altar and twelve memorial stones (to represent the twelve tribes);

  • of the selection of twelve youths to perform the burnt-offering of the holocaust;

  • Moses read the covenant, and the people made their profession of obedience;

  • Moses sprinkled upon the people the blood reserved from the holocaust.

Later on we read of the consecration of the priests — Aaron and his sons (Exodus 29) — who had been previously elected (Exodus 28). Here we have the act of consecration consisting of purifying, investing, and anointing (Leviticus 8) as a preparation for their offering public sacrifice. The placing of the meat in their hands (Exodus 29) was considered an essential part of the ceremony of consecration, whence the expression filling the hand has been considered identical with consecrating. As to the oil used in this consecration, we find the particulars in Exodus (30:23-24; 37:29).

Distinct from the priestly consecration is that of the Levites (Numbers 3:6) who represent the first-born of all the tribes. The rite of their consecration is described in Numbers 8. Another kind of personal consecration among the Hebrews was that of the Nazarites (Numbers 6). It implied the voluntary separation from certain things, dedication to God, and a vow of special sanctity. Similarly, the rites of consecration of objects — such as temples, altars, firstfruits, spoils of war, etc. — are minutely described in the Old Testament. Among the Romans whatever was devoted to the worship of their gods (fields, animals, etc.) was said to be consecrated, and the objects which pertained intimately to their worship (temples, altars, etc.) were said to be dedicated. These words were, however, often used indiscriminately, and in both cases it was understood that the object once consecrated or dedicated remained sacred in perpetuum.

The Church distinguishes consecration from blessing, both in regard to persons and to things. Hence the Roman Pontifical treats of the consecration of a bishop and of the blessing of an abbot, of the blessing of a corner-stone and the consecration of a church or altar. In both, the persons or things pass from a common, or profane, order to a new state, and become the subjects or the instruments of Divine protection. At a consecration the ceremonies are more solemn and elaborate than at a blessing. The ordinary minister of a consecration is a bishop, whilst the ordinary minister of a blessing is a priest. At every consecration the holy oils are used; at a blessing customarily on holy water. The new state to which consecration elevates persons or things is permanent, and the rite can never be repeated, which is not the case at a blessing; the graces attached to consecration are more numerous and efficacious than those attached to a blessing; the profanation of a consecrated person or thing carries with it a new species of sin, namely sacrilege, which the profanation of a blessed person or thing does not always do.

Of consecration proper the Roman Pontifical contains one of persons, that is of a bishop, and four of things, that is, of a fixed altar, of an altar-stone, of a church, and of a chalice and paten. The consecration of a church is also called its dedication (q.v.) in accordance with the distinction between consecration and dedication among the ancient Romans pointed out above. To these might be probably added confirmation and Holy orders, for which, however, the Roman Pontifical, because they are distinct sacraments, has retained their proper names. If we except the consecration of a bishop, which is a sacrament — although there is a question among theologians, whether the sacrament and the character imprinted by it are distinct from the sacrament and character of the priesthood, or only a certain extension of the sacerdotal sacrament and character — all the other consecrations are sacramentals. These are inanimate things which are not susceptible of Divine grace, but are a medium of its communication, since by their consecration they acquire a certain spiritual power by which they are rendered in perpetuum fit and suitable for Divine worship. (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theol., III:83:3, ad 3 and 4.)

In the Eastern Churches the prayers at the consecration of altars and sacred vessels are of the same import as those used in the Latin Church, and they are accompanied by the sign of the cross and the anointing with holy oils (Renaudot, "Liturgiarum Orient. Collectio", I, Ad benedictiones). At the consecration of a bishop, the Orientals hold, with the Latins, that the essence consists in the laying-on of hands, and they entirely omit the anointing with holy oils (Morinus, De sacris Ecclesiæ ordinationibus, Pars III, Appendis).

When we speak of consecration without any special qualification, we ordinarily understand it as the act by which, in the celebration of Holy Mass, the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ. It is called transubstantiation, for in the Sacrament of the Eucharist the substance of bread and wine do not remain, but the entire substance of bread is changed into the body of Christ, and the entire substance of wine is changed into His blood, the species or outward semblance of bread and wine alone remaining. This change is produced in virtue of the words: This is my body and This is my blood, or This is the chalice of my blood, pronounced by the priest assuming the person of Christ and using the same ceremonies that Christ used at the Last Supper.

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