Why Do We Need to Have Sacrificial Love??

Posted: April 10, 2022 in World On The Edge

Sacrifice is part of the very definition of what it means to truly love another person.

In fact, intimate relationships require sacrifice. I think we understand this most in the context of family, because we do sacrifice for our spouse, our children, and our parents.

Sacrifice does not mean giving up something for nothing; it means giving up one thing for something else we believe is worth much more. When we give our love to another sacrificially, we are putting the other first. We putting their needs above our wants. Husbands and Wives, Mothers and Fathers do this all the time – for the greater good of each other and of their children.

Why do we do this? Because we genuinely love them. Spousal love and Parental love are not ‘false loves.’ It is the kind of love that calls us to take the responsibility we have been given to take care of a separate person created by God. This does not at all mean that we want to be treated as doormats by our spouse, or that we give our children all the material things they may ask for. Quite the opposite. We treat our spouse and children as God’s gift to us, and try to show them the true way to joy and happiness. Just as our Father in heaven did — and does, through the Eucharist, daily consecration of the Host at Mass — offering His only son as an example of the kind of sacrificial love we, too, should show the world. The kind of love that will lead us to eternal life.

For Christians, the greatest example of sacrifice given out of love is the ransom Jesus Christ paid for us. And I believe the second greatest sacrifice was made by his mother, Mary. Can you imagine watching as your beloved innocent son suffered and died in such a horrendous way?

Today’s society tries to obliterate sacrifice at every turn. Some of our so-called leaders in government push us toward horribly sinful actions through legislation that will selfishly benefit them, not us. Many of them even try to obliterate God, Himself. Many of them seem to love themselves much more than the people they serve.

The things that we love tell us what we are. — Thomas Aquinas

And then there are the superficial ads promising people that they can fulfill their desires without having to sacrifice anything at all. “Lose weight without giving up your favorite foods!” “Get a great body without long workouts!” “Get rich without having to work hard!” “Vote for us and our crazy legislation and we’ll give you lots of things for free, but not real freedom.” The denial of sacrifice is everywhere. How about our soaring credit card debts–and of course the national debt?

But it’s a fairy tale to think you can have whatever you want without sacrifice.

If you want to lose weight, you have to sacrifice eating what puts the weight on. If you want to be loved, and be able to love, you have to show another person that you would give up something of importance for them. Love and Sacrifice are intertwined. Genuine love — when we sacrifice ourselves for someone else — can cost a great deal of suffering.

What is the mark of love for your neighbor? Not to seek what is for your own benefit, but what is for the benefit of the one loved, both in body and in soul.- St. Basil the Great

Why is Sacrificial Love So Important for Every Human Being?

It is a fact. Each of us will die.
But is death the end of us?

We come into this world innocent, and nothing can change that we’re made in the image and likeness of God. Part of each one of us is spiritual, like it or not. And it is that spirituality that draws us to the reality of God.

But we’ve also been given a free will by our Creator. We can make choices, and some of those choices are wrong ones that steer us away from the inborn likeness to God set in us, and toward a dead end, where we often have no desire to change, or even acknowledge God. Many of us are fine with our lives as we’re living them.  And some don’t think about change, or God, at all until we are faced with death.

Yet we want eternal life.

And eternal life requires sacrifice.

This week, Holy Week, is all about eternal life. The final Sunday of Lent, Palm Sunday, begins Holy Week for Christians. It commemorates the triumphant arrival of Christ in Jerusalem, days before he was crucified. Palm Sunday is known as such because the faithful will often receive palm fronds which they use to participate in the reenactment of Christ’s arrival in Jerusalem. Following days are Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and finally the Resurrection – Easter.

On Holy Thursday, Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist–His real presence at Mass, reminding us of HIs actual sacrifice. This is my Body. This is my Blood. Do this in remembrance of me. On Good Friday, He shows us how to suffer through the worst of all deaths, the excruciating death of an innocent man through the conniving of greedy and selfish human beings; a suffering He allowed so that we –his beloved children– might have eternal life. And on Easter Sunday, He rose from the tomb into which human evil cast Him.

He rose because no grave could hold Him. No grave could silence Him. No grave could keep Him from us, each one of us, His children, made in His image and likeness.

But are we striving for a life beyond our earthly grave?

Do we even consider our own resurrection?

Resurrection is defined in the dictionary as the act of causing something that has ended or been forgotten or lost to exist again.  Our ultimate Resurrection is a promise from our loving God if we truly desire it. When we  attempt by our free will to overcome our sinfulness through faith and sacrificial love. And when we rely on the overflowing mercy of God, we will have eternal life.

So that no grave can hold us.
No grave can silence us.
And no grave can keep us from our God who loves us.

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