“Sacrifice, to be real, must cost, must hurt, must empty us of ourselves.” – Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Over the past four years, along with thousands of fellow Christians, I have combed through the pages of some of the most profound books ever written on Catholic spirituality (check out our book club at spiritualdirection.com). During that time, my soul has been awash with gallons of words, some more palatable than others. Much to my chagrin, the most common word in all those great works has by far been the most difficult to ingest – its sticking power gnawing at my insides in the most inopportune moments – whenever I want to splurge on a new book, or when I’m dying to eat that last piece of cake, or when my son asks me to iron his forgotten school shirt at 11:30pm, or when I just sit down to read and the dog starts barking at the door.
That word is…Sacrifice.
An all-American, consumption-loving girl at heart, I’ve been doing my best to ignore this little word as it nibbles ceaselessly at my core; but try as I might, it’s not working.
It’s one of those words that inspires from afar; but most of us don’t want to get too close. There is a love-hate relationship with the notion of sacrifice that is unlike that of any other subject. We admire those who make great sacrifices, but most of us have become virtually unwilling to get into the mire and muck of pain and self-denial necessary to get the job done.
You see, in our culture, SACRIFICE is a dirty word.
The thing is, throughout my reading I have discovered that sacrifice is a theme that gets to the heart of all blossoming relationships. It is a theme that would have been obvious to any of the saints to whom we look for inspiration. It is a theme that was perhaps taken for granted even a hundred years ago. But it has long since been left in the dust, smited by the philosophy of individualism that has taken us from a freedom to do good, to a belief in license to do whatever we want, despite foreseeable consequences to those around us. We have become a society grounded in “ME.” And any society grounded in ME is bound to have members who recklessly trample each other to destruction. Even our definition of LOVE has come to represent ME. It is all about my FEELINGS. And when my FEELINGS no longer exist, then LOVE is gone and I am obligated to find MY fulfillment elsewhere.
Interestingly enough, in the history of the Church, love has never been bound up with feelings. And it has never been about ME. Rather, since Our Lord came into this world over 2,000 years ago as Love incarnate, ultimately laying down His life for each and every one of us, love has always been a verb – a verb inextricably intertwined with SACRIFICE.
Hence this blog. Let’s start a conversation about sacrifice. Not a complaining, frustrated conversation. A positive, life-changing conversation. About sacrifice in our country; sacrifice in our homes; but mostly, about sacrifice in our thoughts and in our words, in what we do (not what we fail to do). Let’s have a conversation about offering all to a God who has given all to us. If each of us takes even a step in the right direction, imagine what a change we could effect on the world.
Will you join me?
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5 thoughts on “A New Blog about Sacrifice”
I have recently become caregiver to my 84 year old parents My parents both have dementia and my mother requires 24 hour care. I have struggled the most with overwhelming feelings of hopelessness and, much of the time, resentment and anger. I have come to realize just how selfish I really am. I have discovered that the thought of sacrificing…my time, my freedom..my life….is what is causing so much of my suffering. I trust that God will use this to rid me of this fault and allow me to honor and love the people who raised me. Prayers appreciated. Glad I found this blog.
SaS, Thank you so much for sharing your situation. Please remember that love is a verb, not a feeling – and yours is clearly being demonstrated in living color right now. Your parents are so blessed to have a child like you, on whom they can depend to love and care for them in the autumn of their lives. May God bless you with gratitude for this opportunity and with great patience and compassion (and much physical help) as you serve your parents in such a beautiful way. God bless you!
Wow. The quote by Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta is a real challenge. I am really looking forward to reading this blog the discussion, Vicki. Sacrifice and suffering is something that I definitely need to get a better grasp on. I have tried mightily, but somehow it isn’t clicking. Best wishes.
I have found that sacrifice is found even in the smallest actions. Like St. Therese the Little Flower, even not complaining when things are not done to ‘our’ liking or, for me, if I eat something that I don’t like . Right now I am laid up from a recent surgery and must rely on my husband to cook for me. I have accepted whatever he cooks for me without compliant or suggestions. I love to cook so for me this is a great sacrifice. So, it’s not a big sacrifice but one that can be used for others and I hope that is a subject that you discuss in the the future, how our sacrifices can be applied to others.
Absolutely, Yvette! Sacrifice in small matters as well as great is exactly what this conversation is about. It sounds like you are offering both – having been laid up from surgery and being grateful for whatever meals you are served (along with many other things, I’m sure). Thank you so much for your comments. And many prayers for a swift recovery!
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