6. Sacrifice something
#6 is where it's at, at least while I write this blog entry. ;) When I first perused 8 Things Every Catholic Should Be Doing Every Day, #6 drew me in. We don't talk enough about sacrifice. It hurts. We don't talk enough about the spiritual benefits of sacrificing, i.e., salvation. Hebrews 9:28 ties the two together, "Christ, offered once [crucifixion] to take away the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to take away sin but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him."
We need to be prepared for the Second Coming, but the words sacrifice and salvation are often scoffed at, even within our very own Church. This is probably why we see non-stop rushing by many of us, why people don't help an elderly person cross the street, why parishioners talk, and talk loudly, in the pews before Mass, and why CEO's and Presidential candidates embezzle from the very organizations that sustain them.
The author, Becky Roach, keeps things simple and that is what I try to do. We don't have to become suicide bombers to reap the benefits of sacrifice. Jesus loves us. He wants us to get to Heaven. Practicing small sacrifices will help immensely. Then, if a large sacrifice is needed, we'll have a foundation to persevere.
Small sacrifices can be giving up bread for a day, or at least for one meal. It can be giving up driving and walking to work instead, if that's reasonable. It can be foregoing the last piece of apple pie so your daughter can have it. Or how about sacrificing personal time at night and getting to bed earlier to get up for Daily Mass?
This is Jesus crucified. Remember, He is God, so He could do something as insufferable as the crucifixion.
We are not asked to be God, but we are asked to sacrifice to join with Jesus in His sacrifice for the world.
Sacrifice involves pain, but there is joy in this kind of pain.
"Keep It Simple" is the theme. At the same time, one might ask, "To what end?" What is the benefit of sacrifice and who receives it? When we make a sacrifice, especially when we make a sacrifice and consciously unite it to Jesus' suffering on the Cross, more than one person benefits. The sacrifice-er, the person(s) "raised up" in the gesture, and God knows who else gains. It could be the souls in Purgatory. Maybe a little bit of their time in Purgatory is reduced, bringing them closer to their final destination in Heaven with God.
When I adopted this frame of mind, the concept grew. I felt better about myself, I felt closer to man and angels and saints, and I became creative with how to apply this concept, thereby helping more people and feeling even better about myself...of course, watching for becoming arrogant.
Try this. Make a sacrifice every day. Unite it to Christ suffering on the Cross and gain a little salvation for yourself and others. Most of us do it when there is a physical manifestation, e.g., we give up our weekends to go to the lake and rebuild what will become a summer cottage, which is important, but we need more spiritual requests and we need to trust that God will meet them. The physical manifestation is not enough.
"Dear Jesus, I offer this sacrifice for the conversion and salvation of my two sons."
"Dear Jesus, help me to grow and become closer to you."
"Dear Jesus, I offer this sacrifice for Millie who is suffering from throat cancer. Please bring her relief in the way You see most fit."
"Dear Jesus, I offer up the work being done by the Town Committee. Please guide them so they do the right thing."
"Dear Jesus, please bless my mother. She died a couple years ago and I pray that she makes it to Heaven."
And get really specific if you want:
"Dear Jesus, please cure Anna."
image - http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RaWsTQDL_Uc/TlY7yj3bDTI/AAAAAAAAADY/p2Gu91j5Wq8/s1600/jesus-on-the-cross_closeup.jpg