To consecrate something is to make it sacred, to set it apart for a holy purpose (Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary).
The opposite is to desecrate something, which means literally to “divest it of [its] sacred character,” or to “treat it with sacrilege” (Online Etymology Dictionary).
In the Book of Mormon, the word consecrate is used several ways:
- Priests and teachers are consecrated to perform religious functions, including baptizing and preaching the gospel. When they are consecrated, God gives them power and authority, as well as responsibility, to do His work (2 Nephi 5:26, 2 Nephi 6:2, Jacob 1:18, Mosiah 23:17, Alma 4:4, Alma 4:7, Alma 5:1, Alma 15:13, Alma 23:4).
- Benjamin and Mosiah were both consecrated to be kings and rulers over their people (Mosiah 2:11, Mosiah 6:3).
- Lehi told his sons, and Jacob reiterated to the family, that God had consecrated the American continent to be a “land of liberty” for people who serve Him. As a result, they would be blessed as long as they were righteous (2 Nephi 1:7, 2 Nephi 1:32, 2 Nephi 3:2, 2 Nephi 10:19).
- The things we experience and the things we do can be consecrated by God:
- Lehi told Jacob that God would consecrate his afflictions for his gain (2 Nephi 2:2).
- Nephi told us that we should pray before we “perform any thing unto the Lord,” and that we should ask Him to consecrate our performance, so that our performance can be for the welfare of our souls (2 Nephi 32:9). I think this means that we should seek God’s guidance to do the right things in the right way, and that we should seek His assistance, so that our “small and simple” actions can bring about “great things (Alma 37:6).
- Nephi offered tearful prayers on behalf of his people. He had an assurance that God would consecrate those prayers so that they would be beneficial (2 Nephi 33:3-4).
- Jesus Christ quoted a passage from Micah, in which God promises to gather His people and to make them strong so that they can overcome their enemies. He promises to “consecrate their gain unto the Lord” (3 Nephi 20:18-19, Micah 4:11-12). In other words, all of the assets currently held by malevolent people will one day belong to God and will be used for good purposes.
Today, I will be grateful for things that have been consecrated or made holy. I will remember the responsibility and the power that I received when I accepted my current church calling. I will be grateful for consecrated places which can help me draw closer to God if I act in a way that is consistent with their sacredness. And I will remember that God is willing to consecrate my prayers, my actions, and even my afflictions, so that they can benefit me and the people I love.