Faith, love lead us to greater sacrifice

| Deacon Arthur Roraff | February 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

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I have a ritual I perform whenever a plane I’m on is about to land. I shut my eyes and say, “Lord, I am yours. I beg for your mercy for my sins and offer myself to you.”

I do this during every landing, rough or smooth. I do this to affirm to myself I am a creature, and he is my creator and savior. It is a way to re-orient my life toward God and to recommit myself to accepting his will over my own (should the landing not turn out so well).

In the first reading for March 1, Abraham is asked to affirm his faith in a radical way. God previously told him, “I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore.” In the reading God asks him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. By sacrificing his son, Abraham would not only lose his son, but also by extension he would have no descendants.

But because Abraham’s faith was strong, he didn’t question God. He trusted God and put his will over his own. He was willing to give God everything.

While we are not called to sacrifice as Abraham, we are still called to sacrifice. It is part of our faith. It is no different from any other loving relationship. When we love someone we sacrifice for him or her. We give what we have and who we are. The more we love, the more we are willing to sacrifice. When the love and sacrifice is reciprocated, the bond of love grows stronger.

God gave himself in the gift of the Son. Should you do less? Are you willing to give up all that you are and all that you have for a God who does the same? If you are, then you get it all back and everything else.

Conversely, what we withhold from God we will never get back. Through the gift of our freewill we can choose to withhold things from God. We can close the doors on our life and exclude him. Sometimes this feels like the safe thing to do. When we feel this way it is good to reflect on the words of St. Paul in the second reading when he writes, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” There is no one more trustworthy than God. He always does what he said.

This Lenten season is a good time to ask yourself how much you are willing to sacrifice. Will you offer your time? Your reputation? Your money? Are you willing to let your children go if they have a calling to the priesthood or religious life? Is there anything you are withholding from God?

You will find the stronger your faith in God, the more you will be willing to sacrifice.

Deacon Roraff is in formation for the priesthood at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity for the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska. His teaching parish is Good Shepherd in Golden Valley. His home parish is Holy Family Cathedral in Anchorage.


Sunday, March 1
Second Sunday of Lent

Readings

  • Genesis 22:1-2, 9a, 10-13, 15-18
  • Romans 8:31b-34
  • Mark 9:2-10

Reflection
In this season of sacrifice, what are you willing to give?

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Category: Sunday Scriptures