To become a living sacrifice
“Hear O Israel, you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength,” reminds Deuteronomy (6.4). Such wholehearted and wholesome love of God is the basis for all acts of consecration to God. Generally, when we speak of consecration to God, we think of self-giving in service of God, such as priests or religious brothers and sisters. Catholic Church teaches that such religious consecration is perfecting one’s baptismal consecration. Then, what does baptismal consecration mean to us? Saint Paul comes to our rescue in explaining to us what our baptismal consecration ought to be.
In his letter to Romans 12:1-2, he reminds us that we ‘must present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, as our spiritual worship’. He is not speaking to any select group of people here, but to every believer who responded to the call of God and immersed himself into the waters of regeneration and rose to new life in Christ. Baptism demands of us a living sacrifice of our bodies to God. This is possible only when we are not conformed to this world, that means we must be set apart through renewal of our mind. Our Lenten experience of self-denial ought to lead us to an experience of conformity to the suffering of Jesus; our deepened prayer experience ought to deepen in us our commitment to our Father’s will through obedience made in self-surrender; our experience of self-giving through generous ‘almsgiving’ in becoming our brother’s keeper ought to deepen our experience of Christ who emptied Himself taking the form of a slave so that by His poverty He could make us rich in heaven. These are experiences that deepen our baptismal consecration.
May our Lenten experience challenge us to become Christ-like. May we daily live the Passion of Christ with true devotion as to make a living sacrifice of our lives to God.
Rev Fr Thomas Dynetius