This Lent more than others, I find myself reflecting on the word sacrifice. This word seems fitting with not only the liturgical season but with the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus outbreak as well. Along with our Lenten penances, many of us now find ourselves confined to our homes, unable to go about our daily routines. Yes, I’d say this is quite a time of sacrifice.
So, what is the point of it all? The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, “The only perfect sacrifice is the one that Christ offered on the cross as a total offering to the Father’s love and for our salvation. By uniting ourselves with his sacrifice we can make our lives a sacrifice to God.” We know from this text that sacrifice was and is necessary for our salvation. Christ already paid the ultimate price with his life, but we are also called to do the same with ours.
I think we learn this in small ways as we grow and develop. When I was young, for example, there were times I had to go to a sibling’s sports game or do chores around the house while my friends went out. This always seemed like a monumental sacrifice, but it was for the good of my family. In college, there were times I had to give of my own time to listen to a friend in need or give of my money though I barely had any.
But, I think it’s been in my vocation where I’ve learned the most about sacrifice. I’ve had to give of myself time and again for my husband, his needs, and his wants. Sometimes I have done this willingly while other times have been marked with annoyance and frustration. More so, when our baby makes their arrival in the next few weeks I know I’ll learn more about sacrifice than ever before.
In all of the ways we are called to sacrifice, we can unite ourselves to Christ on the cross. Doing this means our sacrifices are not in vain but have meaning behind them. If we can connect with Christ in this way, He can even give us the grace to make our sacrifices joyfully. So, be encouraged as you face your daily, Lenten, and health-related sacrifices. It can seem difficult, but we can’t lose hope.
Instead, we must see our sacrifices, unite them to Christ, and commit to living with joy. Most importantly, remember that Christ has already made the ultimate sacrifice for you and gained the Easter victory over death.