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Consecration
ALBERT F. GILMORE, CSB

 
         A newspaper published in a western American state recently contained the following statement: "Whether we believe it or not, the time is not far distant when the mass of people will be consecrating not only their individual lives to God, but also their homes, their business, their pleasures, and all of the activities of every day." This statement in the columns of a newspaper is a most pertinent sign of the times, for to the thoughtful everywhere there is manifest an awakening to the great fact that all that men ever do that is worthwhile is done to the glory of God; and, conversely, it is being learned how futile are the efforts which have for their sole purpose the serving of personal pleasures, material gains, and selfish ends.

         How rightly to consecrate one's self to the highest ideals is one of the important problems facing mankind. Many have the desire without the knowledge of the method whereby the problem may be solved. Christian Science furnishes the key. Progress Spiritward is never made without consecration; and the demand is for whole-hearted devotion. How can one thoroughly learn of any subject without turning devotedly to the task? If this be true in secular affairs, how much greater is the need for consecration in order that one may learn about God, a knowledge which so far transcends the material senses?

         Mrs. Eddy, absolutely assured of this necessity, out of the depth of her conviction wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 3): "To understand God is the work of eternity, and demands absolute consecration of thought, energy, and desire." There can be no doubt as to the demand. Are we ready to follow our Leader? The temptation to follow the old ways a little longer, to indulge pleasurable sense just once more, to linger for a moment in the garden of Eden, is the argument of sense. But what profiteth it? All mistaken steps have to be retraced, and the return is not made easier by journeying farther in the wrong direction. Having been shown the way, should we not joyously follow it? Not infrequently, it seems, a false sense of the necessity of giving up something of value hinders one's consecration to the Christ-way. But it should not. Let us remember that nothing of real value, nothing worthy and permanent, can ever be given up. Who can relinquish a single quality derived from God? Our great need, instead, is to gain the understanding of man's present state of perfection and blessedness; and, when we have found the truth, to make it manifest. Then will the process we may now term giving up be transformed into a glorious letting go, the surrender of that which has not, nor ever had, a phase of reality, — the so-called material beliefs of life and existence. Such gain can have no accompanying loss. Loss of material sense is definite gain, a progressive step in the winning of the pearl without price. Losing that which man never possessed can by no process of reasoning ever be transformed into the deprivation of something of value. The notion that, in order to gain spiritual reality, something worthwhile must be surrendered arises from a wrong estimate of values.

         Moreover, progress in the gaining of spiritual understanding is not most rapid when we devote ourselves to good works but intermittently. To progress for a period, only to return to the ways of mortal mind, does not speed progress. Continuous devotion to God is the highway to spiritual attainment. Our Leader's ringing words on this point admit of no uncertainty (Science and Health, pp. 261, 262): "Good demands of man every hour, in which to work out the problem of being. Consecration to good does not lessen man's dependence on God, but heightens it. Neither does consecration diminish man's obligations to God, but shows the paramount necessity of meeting them."

         Men are rapidly learning that service to God, that is, to good, is the only service worthy of one's devotion. No other service ever brings one nearer to God, the source of man's being. Such service rendered with full understanding of its purpose and meaning brings reward even an hundredfold, for it is the fruit of the good seed planted with right desire and tended with the joy of true consecration. Did not Paul declare, "I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase"?

         The men and women of history who deserve to be called great invariably have been those who, rising above personal interests, have served mankind in some purposeful manner. They have consecrated themselves to the service of their fellowmen and posterity, rather than to the acquisition of merely personal wealth and fame. The example of our great Leader splendidly illustrates this. To what purpose did she bend her every desire and act and deed, but to the evangelization of humanity, the loosening of the bonds of sin and falsity, in order that the real man might become manifest? Her consecration to the Cause she established was complete, and immeasurable was her reward. Throughout the world grateful hearts are constantly lifted in praise and thanksgiving for a life so consecrated, so devoted to the winning of mankind's freedom as to shut out every worldly ambition. By what more worthy desire could one be actuated than successfully to emulate her inspiring example!

 

"Consecration" by Albert F. Gilmore, CSB
Christian Science Sentinel, April 4, 1925


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