Mission Monday: What is consecrated time?
Today we feature an excerpt from the blog of Lynn Myrick, one of our lay missioners in Bolivia, in which she ponders the meaning of “consecrated time.”
“Recently, I have been seeking a definition of the term consecrated time. I know that the consecrated life refers to the dedicated lives of the religious (nuns, sisters, brothers, and priests), wherein the individual takes vows of poverty, obedience, and chastity. I also know that just as a life may be consecrated, objects may be consecrated as well.
The Catholic Encyclopedia defines consecration as ‘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.’
What, then, is consecrated time? For Christians, Sundays are consecrated to God; therefore that day is set aside as a ‘Dia del Senor’ (the Lord’s Day), as our Sunday liturgical bulletin reads. God was the one who consecrated that day to sacred use, a day for us to rest and to think more about our Creator.
One website I found suggested that any time spent alone, exclusively alone, with God, is consecrated time. Any time that is separated from the common time and dedicated to the service and worship to God may be consecrated time. So when I am sitting alone, reading the Bible or praying, I am consecrating my time to God.
While I was in Vanderbilt Divinity School, many students there told me that they wanted to be in the presence of the Divine at all times. One could turn to Brother Lawrence’s The Practice of the Presence of God, where one reads that for Brother Lawrence, ‘common business,’ is the medium through which one can experience God. Brother Lawrence probably felt that he was practicing what he would be doing for all eternity.
Also, Christians receive the promise that if they give a cup of cold water to one of Christ’s ‘little ones,’ it is as though they are giving it to Jesus himself. Here too, one is in the presence of the Divine.”
While on mission, Lynn has participated in the the 100-year celebration of the founding of the Maryknoll order and the Transitus of St. Francis, the 802-year anniversary of Francis’ death.
“In these two events that I was able to participate in, both orders, or families, as we say, set aside time to reflect upon their mission, past, present, and future, that is, their participation in God’s work on earth . The time set apart was consecrated, in my view, because the Maryknoll family and the Franciscan family withdrew from the world in order to contemplate their roles as God’s people in Latin America, and to seek guidance from one another and from God.”
To read about Lynn’s time at the events, and the rest of her mission in Bolivia, visit her blog.
For reflection: When is my consecrated time?