Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thoughts on Blessing and Consecrating

This post will be about blessing and consecrating sacred objects and sacred space.

When I was a Catholic child, I remember that it was important to have a new rosary blessed by a priest. You would hand your rosary to a priest and ask him to bless it, the priest would then say a prayer over the rosary, and the rosary thereby became a holy object, to be handled with care and used only for prayer.

I have since learned that I am perfectly capable of blessing an object myself. I recently gathered some small stones on my morning walk and blessed them. I gave them to the participants at my theme party based on Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love. As part of this event, we spent a short time in silent prayer or meditation, during which the participants could hold and focus on a prayer stone.

Here are some things I might do in blessing an object - a stone, let us say. I would begin by becoming conscious of the pulse of energy in my hands and mingling that energy with the energy of the stone. I might then pray that the stone be blessed by my love and by the love of God and that the stone be a blessing to whoever received it. I might sing to and for the stone. I might breathe upon the stone. I might hold the stone in my hands or place it close to my heart. This would constitute a very general blessing and would not oblige the receiver of the stone to treat the stone in any particular way.

Consecrating an object is another matter. This means setting an object aside for a sacred use. I would never attempt to do this for anyone but myself. In other words, to consecrate a stone as a prayer stone or a candle for use on an altar, I would do this only with objects for my personal sacred use and never for anyone else. The stones I blessed for the Eat, Pray, Love event were given a general blessing, not consecrated as sacred prayer stones, even though I suggested that participants might want to use them as prayer stones during their meditation. A stone can be used as a prayer stone without formally consecrating it.

Consecrating an object takes more time. For consecration, I would want to be very conscious of energy flowing through me and surrounding and infusing the object. I would want to be very clear in my intent to set aside the object for a particular sacred purpose, which may be permanent or temporary. I would also want to choose appropriate prayers or words of consecration to express my intent. An object can be consecrated in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. It can be consecrated in the name of Mother God and Father God. It can be consecrated with the additional blessing of Mary the Mother of Jesus, one's Holy Guardian Angel, or any of the angels or saints. It can be consecrated with the energy of earth, air, fire, and water.

One can also consecrate a space as sacred. Certainly, anyone can pray at any time and in any place with no need for formal consecration, but it is nice also to set aside special sacred times for prayer in a special sacred space. Christians do this on Sunday mornings (sacred time) in churches (sacred space). One can do this at home or outdoors by setting aside any time as sacred and by formally consecrating a sacred space for a particular prayer time.

I would also like to point out that Christians consecrate sacred spaces and sacred objects. Churches are consecrated - they are set aside as sacred space for the purpose of prayer. The altar, the vessels, the cloths, the vestments - all have been consecrated. Even priests are consecrated as sacred persons. In Catholic school, I learned that to murder another human being is a mortal sin, but that to murder a priest is not only a mortal sin but also a sacrilege because of the priest's consecration to God.

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