Monday, November 3, 2014

What is a Sacrifice?

At the beginning of each new month I review my notes from the previous month’s issue of Magnificat. Each day’s meditation, found after the daily Mass readings, offers some big-time wisdom from some big-time Catholic thinkers from every Christian century. I’m often astounded by how a seemingly difficult topic can be made simple. Here is a case in point about sacrifice triggered by the untainted mind of a child, but noticed and written about by Caryll Houselander.

“A girl of eleven, asked to teach a child of four to ‘make a sacrifice’, taught him to make the Sign of the Cross. Asked why this should be a sacrifice, she answered with supreme wisdom, ‘Because for a little minute he gives all of himself to God.’ For a little minute the child stops jumping and shouting, he stands still, puts his feet together, uses his mind and his hands and his voice for his Sign of the Cross. He is offering himself to give honor to God...”

The Sign of the Cross
  1. Motion to the head (motion to the intellect): Do we truly sacrifice our personal agenda for Truth? Do we sacrifice what we want to be true for what actually IS true? When alone, where do our idle thoughts go? This too reflects our state of mind.
  2. Motion to the heart (motion to the will): Since true love involves an act of the will, do we sacrifice our own will for the will of God? Do we sacrifice our own good for the good of the “other”?
  3. Motion to our left: In scripture, the “left” can symbolize what is undesirable or weak. How well do we offer up our challenges, difficulties and weaknesses to God and His mercy? How often do we frequent the sacrament of reconciliation?
  4. Motion to our right: In scripture the “right” can symbolize what is desirable or strong. Do we offer the gifts we have received back to God? Where and how do we spend our time and our money?
The sign of our faith is the Sign of the Cross and the sign of true sacrifice.


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