“Consecrated in the Truth and the Gifts of Fear of the Lord, Knowledge, and Counsel” Jn 17 (6/5/2019)
Fr. Ignatius John Schweitzer, OP
Our consecration to God doesn’t depend on ourselves alone. Our being set apart and given over completely to God is not our own doing. In our Gospel today, the Lord Jesus says that he consecrates himself in order that we may be consecrated in truth. Our consecration to God depends primarily on the Lord Jesus’ consecration to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.
So as we go through our days and we may begin to wonder what has become of this total belonging to God. Maybe it’s not as palpable as it was before. If we have done wrong, we confess and amend our life. But sometimes this sense of not belonging as much to God as before just sort of creeps in for no real reason. When this is the case, it’s a good time to renew our faith in the Lord’s promise and the work of salvation that he has accomplished so we might belong to God. He says, “I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”
This consecration of his was completed in the Cross and Resurrection. Jesus made that complete offering of himself unto death and his humanity now belongs totally to the divine realm in the Resurrection. By his Cross and Resurrection he has purchased us for God. He has drawn us out of the world and won us for God that we might belong completely to Him. Jesus has consecrated himself that we may be consecrated in truth.
It involves faith in what was accomplished in our baptism and is renewed at every offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In the Mass we share in the Lord Jesus’ own offering to the Father. He has consecrated himself to the Father that we might be consecrated in truth.
Our religious consecration and vows also extend and ratify this consecration. The Horarium and schedule of daily duties is time consecrated to God so we can better live out our total belonging to God. The forma vitae, our form of life, imprints the stamp of our consecration on our daily activities.
Through all this, the Lord Jesus in his consecration, consecrates us to the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. The gifts of the Holy Spirit come into play here. In our Gospel, Jesus speaks of keeping the disciples from the Evil One and of them not belonging to the world. More positively they belong to God and Jesus speaks of protecting and guarding the disciples in the Father’s name. Among the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of fear of the Lord, knowledge, and counsel help here. Or better yet, this is part of how the Lord Jesus keeps us in the Father’s name, under his influence, under the shadow of his wings.
The gift of counsel opens us to inspirations from the Holy Spirit in our practical affairs. The Holy Spirit nudges us to do this or don’t do that. He prompts us in a certain direction of action. He helps us make a decision as what to do. We might too think of your rule of life, and the Spirit-inspired constitutions that guide your daily actions. The gift of counsel helps us walk under the loving and sheltering hands of the Father.
The gift of knowledge gives us a right appraisal of created things. The gift of knowledge helps us to judge created things aright in the light of God. In our Gospel, Jesus says he’s not going to take the disciples out of the world, yet they do not belong to the world. In the world, but not of the world. The gift of knowledge assists us in making a proper use of created things. They are transitory and ultimately cannot fulfill us, yet they can also be used in our ascent to God. Like St Francis, who despised and renounced aspects of the world, while also finding God through Brother Sun and Sister Moon.
The gift of fear of the Lord gives us an additional depth to our reverence of God. We fear offending God, and so remain disciplined. We fear our own weakness, and so remain dependent on God in trusting hope. Fear of the Lord, while keeping us from evil, flowers in a filial reverence for God most High. Fear of the Lord is loving reverence of the Lord.
In our consecration to God which Jesus has accomplished for us, fear of the Lord keeps us in his saving Name. In greater reverence for the Mighty God, we also grow in a greater hope of his strength to bring our salvation to completion. We also grow in gratitude and wonder over the fact that we belong to such a great God. “How great Thou art!” “How great Thou art!” The Lord Most High, elevated above all dominions and powers, belongs to us, and we belong to him. As we sing our “Holy, Holy, Holy!” through this Mass today, we fall on our faces in humble adoration, while rejoicing that we belong to Him, and He to us.