We need to make sacrifices PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 05 March 2017 14:51

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

 

WE should understand this point well. We should not just be willing to go through some suffering and pain because they are unavoidable in life. Neither should it be because we like something or love someone for whom we are willing to suffer certain inconveniences and sacrifices.

We have to understand that we need to make sacrifices simply because, whether they are unavoidable or not, or whether we offer them for someone or something or not, they are an essential and integral part of our Christian life.

Christ himself commanded us so. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Mt 16,24) These clear words of Christ do not limit our need for sacrifices to the facts that suffering and pain are inescapable in life, or that we are willing to suffer for something or someone we love.

Our need for sacrifice is first of all based on the fact that Christ commands it. We should not wait for suffering and pain to come before we make sacrifices. Neither should we wait to be moved to suffer for something or for someone we love before we make sacrifices.

We make sacrifices simply because Christ said so, and he said so because it is necessary for us. More than expiating for our sins, the sacrifices are a clear expression of a total self-giving which is the essence of love.

Sacrifices, as iconized by the Cross of Christ, are what distinguish a Christian. The cross is the sign of the Christian because it is the center of the saving life and action of Christ. It shows how much Christ obeys his Father out of love, and how much he loves us.

We have to learn to sanctify our sacrifices by uniting them with the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. That is how we make our sufferings and pain divine and with redemptive value.

It is by uniting our sacrifices with that of Christ that we can find the meaning and value of suffering and pain in this life.

As a Church document puts it: “Through Christ and in Christ, the riddles of sorrow and death grow meaningful. Apart from His Gospel, they overwhelm us.” (Gaudium et spes, 22)

We should not doubt that the cross has a tremendous saving

power. We have to learn to love it and therefore to look for it and to carry it, as Christ himself commanded us. We should not just toleraten it.

This, of course, will require a certain discipline. As the Catechism would put it: “The way of perfection passes by way of the Cross. There is no holiness without renunciation and spiritual battle.

Spiritual progress entails the asceticism and mortification that gradually lead to living in the peace and joy of the Beatitudes.” (CCC 2015)

The love for the cross will certainly require the need of faith which God actually gives us in abundance. It is also what wouldoccasion the growth and the strengthening of our faith. We actually cannot grow in our faith unless we are driven by the love of the cross.

It is through love for the cross that we become more and more like Christ, after whom we have been patterned and by whom we are redeemed and reconciled with our Father God. It is what would make us the perfect image of Christ.

We should actively grow in our love for the cross by developing a spirit of mortification and penance. In a manner of speaking, we need to die in order to live a life of holiness, a supernatural life of love of God.

St. Paul expresses this point this way: “If you live according the flesh you will die. But if by the spirit, you put to death the deeds of the flesh, and you will live.” (Rom 8,13)

Thus, we need to die a bit each day by self-denial, mortification and penance. We need to control our disordered inclinations and passions.