My first personal reflections on a consecrated life. I love the term "consecrated life" because it is something I can do myself to show gratitude for the gift of everlasting life given me by my Saviour. I can work on consecrating my own life, setting it apart, dedicating it to the sacred service of my God, devoting it to holy purposes. I truly do feel the desire within to do this.
And so, the first thought today is on purity.
Isn't it wonderful to know that no matter how hard we try, or what we do, we can never achieve purity on our own? Purity is a tall order, since, at its root, it demands a complete sinless nature. I know I can't make it through an hour, let alone a lifetime.
"Those who come unto Jesus and take His yoke upon them have claim on His grace, which will make them as He is: guiltless and spotless."
But that doesn't mean giving up, not trying, or no effort on our part. I always find it interesting to examine the verbs that Jesus used as he spoke. In this case, it is the word "come." It doesn't say "stand there and I'll throw some grace your way." Instead, it says "come," which really means that I have to make a concerted effort to move my feet (heart and spirit) closer to Him. I have to walk along the path He laid out.
He also commanded people to repent. Repent is also a verb that carries lots of action on our part. I need to humble my heart and take steps to repent of those sins I inevitably carry. So, a consecrated life includes repentance.
"Stubbornness, rebellion, and rationalization must be abandoned, and in their place submission, a desire for correction, and acceptance of all that the Lord may require."
While grace is a gift freely given, and it is certainly something I cannot earn, Jesus laid out certain requirements for those who wish to follow him. He didn't say "keep some of the commandments, or at least the ones that are easy for you, or only if you feel like it today." He said "Keep my commandments." He spoke harshly of hypocrites, those who profess to be His followers but don't have their hearts changed, and, in the process, outwardly manifest that change.
I think the above quote about stubbornness and rebellion and rationalization really jumped out at me, for those are faults with which I daily struggle. I always think my way is the best way. Sometimes I just don't feel like towing the line. Often I rationalize away behaviour, thoughts and actions.
I realized on thinking about this aspect of a consecrated life, purity, that a) it is attainable through God's grace and b) I cannot achieve purity on my own, there are paths I can follow and things I can do that will bring me closer to God and closer to the idea of purity, that I can "be one with Jesus, as He is one with God."