Into the service of God: Consecrating oneself to Jesus
Photo: Sacred Heart of Jesus with Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Louis Gonzaga-by José de Páez, Public domain, via Wikimedia
“Understood in the light of the Scriptures, the term “Sacred Heart of Jesus” denotes the entire mystery of Christ, the totality of his being, and his person considered in its most intimate essential: Son of God, uncreated wisdom; infinite charity, principal of the salvation and sanctification of mankind. The “Sacred Heart” is Christ, the Word Incarnate, Saviour, intrinsically containing, in the Spirit, an infinite divine-human love for the Father and for his brothers.” (166)
“It can be said that, in a certain sense, devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a cultic form of the prophetic and evangelic gaze of all Christians on him who was pierced (cf. John 19, 37; Zac 12, 10), the gaze of all Christians on the side of Christ, transfixed by a lance, and from which flowed blood and water (cf. John 19, 34), symbols of the “wondrous sacrament of the Church”. (167)[i]
In troubled times, we can feel the impact of the evil around us. Fortunately, the Church provides us with spiritual ‘anchors’ that help us keep a firm grip on God. The Catholic faith is blessed with 2000 years of devotions and traditions. Perhaps one of the most long-standing is the act of consecrating oneself to God. There is no better time than now to make or renew that act.
Consecration To consecrate a thing is more than a pledge of intention. It is to remove it from the dominion of Satan and put it into the sole service of God. Our baptism is our first consecration, placing an indelible mark upon our soul that can never be removed. We are made to belong to Christ. Remember, Satan and his fellow fallen angels were left to prowl the earth seeking souls to steal. Until placed specifically under Christ’s dominion, we remain under Satan’s and so baptism is keenly important. With age, however, comes increased responsibility to live out this covenant. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an ancient tradition in the Church that aids us in this. In fact, many popes have elevated this devotion to the general public. Building upon them, Pope Leo XIII consecrated all of mankind, the entire world, to the Sacred Heart in 1899[ii]. This signifies its importance for us.
A personal consecration is a permanent offering of yourself so solemn and sincere it marks the whole of your life. While it does not mark the soul as would a formal sacrament (Directory #204), it is a covenant with our Lord to place your life and all of your works into His hands now and forever. There are many types of consecrations. Some people, through spiritual direction and discernment, consecrate themselves to their Guardian Angel or to the archangels. More common and most powerful is to consecrate oneself directly to our Lord Jesus Christ and our Blessed Mother Mary. Pius XI saw personal consecration as “undoubtedly the principal devotional practice used in relation to the Sacred Heart” (#171). Often parents do this on behalf of their children, even at birth or baptism. Once of age or an adult, the child can make their own solemn consecration. However, it is not uncommon for adults to assume and embrace the consecration of their childhood with no further action, having worn a scapular since their earliest memories.
Once of age, anyone can consecrate themselves simply by praying an Act of Consecration with the sincere desire to give yourself to Jesus so He may transform you. For example:
AN OFFERING TO THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS
MY loving Jesus! I (your name) give Thee my heart, and I consecrate myself wholly to Thee, out of the grateful love I bear Thee, and as a reparation for all my unfaithfulness; and with Thy aid I purpose never to sin again.[iii]
Typically, once consecrated a person enjoys wearing a scapular depicting Jesus and Mary.
Then every day you renew your consecration by praying the same prayer or The Morning Offering prayer. Throughout the day, recall Jesus is your Lord and ask His guidance. Additionally, you must:
- Always attend mass on Sundays and Holy Days
- Try to attend daily mass whenever possible
- Receive the healing sacrament of Confession at least annually, but as often as possible throughout the year
The Act of Consecration and Morning Offering prayers can be found on many websites. The traditional Morning Offering prayer is a long-time favorite:
through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings
of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all my relatives and friends,
and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father.
At day’s end, spend just a few minutes with Jesus in the silence of your heart, and talk openly about how this day went. Hand over to Him any sufferings which remain in your heart and ask to replace those with His heart. A simple prayer in the morning, and conversation in the evening, will change your life in good time.
Let us end by considering Pope Leo XIII’s bold proclamation of the power of our devotion to the Sacred Heart:
“Hence that abundance of evils which have now for a long time settled upon the world, and which pressingly call upon us to seek for help from Him by whose strength alone they can be driven away. Who can He be but Jesus Christ the only-begotten Son of God? For there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved. We must have recourse to Him who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We have gone astray and we must return to the right path: darkness has overshadowed our minds, and the gloom must be dispelled by the light of truth: death hath seized upon us, and we must lay hold of life. It will at length be possible that our many wounds be healed and all justice spring forth again with the hope of restored authority; that the splendors of peace be renewed and swords and arms drop from the hand when all men shall acknowledge the empire of Christ and willingly obey His word, and every tongue shall confess that our Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.” (para. 11)
Always for the Greater Glory of God 😊
[i] St. John Paul II (2001) Congregation for Divine Worship and The Discipline Of The Sacraments: Directory On Popular Piety and The Liturgy. Referenced in paragraph (para #) http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/ccdds/documents/rc_con_ccdds_doc_20020513_vers-direttorio_en.html
[ii] Pope Leo XIII (1899) Annum Sacrum: Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII on Consecration to the Sacred Heart http://www.vatican.va/content/leo-xiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_25051899_annum-sacrum.html
[iii] Rev. Alexis Lepicier OSM. (1921) Jesus Christ, King of our Hearts. Pps 255, 252 https://ia601300.us.archive.org/6/items/JesusChristKingOfOurHearts/JesusChristKingOfOurHearts.pdf
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