To consecrate means to declare and set apart as sacred. Usually churches are consecrated places set apart for the worship of God. The vessels used for liturgical services are consecrated for that exclusive purpose. Oils are consecrated at the Chrism Mass each year for special sacramental use unlike the use of other ordinary oils.
Similarly, each baptized person whether baptized at infancy or as an adult is consecrated and called to holiness. "Each is sent to share the mission of Christ and is given the capacity to grow in the love and service of the Lord. This baptismal gift is the fundamental Christian consecration and is the root of all others." (cf. Essential Elements of Religious Life #6) Therefore, all Christians are consecrated and have a mission to be accomplished.
"To some, however, for the sake of all, God gives the gift of a closer following of Christ in His poverty, chastity, and obedience through a public profession of these counsels mediated by the church. This profession, in imitation of Christ, manifests a particular consecration which is rooted in that of baptism and is a fuller expression of it" (Perfectae Caritatis 5). The fuller expression recalls the hold of the divine Person of the Word over the human nature which He assumed, and it invites a response like that of Jesus: a dedication of oneself to God in a way which He alone makes possible and which witnesses to His holiness and absoluteness. Such a consecration is a gift of God, a grace freely given. (cf. Essential Elements of Religious Life #7)
When a person decides to devote his or her life exclusively to God by professing the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Church receives this profession of vows and consecrates that person. By virtue of this particular consecration the person is set apart to live the Gospel in a radical way and be a visible witness of Christ in His Church for the world.
Consecration, a Gift of God
"Consecration is a divine action. God calls a person whom He sets apart for a particular dedication to Himself. At the same time, He offers the grace to respond so that consecration is expressed on the human side by a profound and free self-surrender. The resulting relationship is pure gift. It is a covenant of mutual love and fidelity, of communion and mission, established for God's glory, the joy of the person consecrated and the salvation of the world." (cf. Essential Elements of Religious Life # 5)
Sister Rita, DLJC