True love means giving of yourself totally to the other. True love means sacrificing for the good of another. The truest example of love that exists is the cross. Not just the cross but this:
The best example of how to love is how God loves us, to the end. And He calls us to love as He loved. He asks us to love Him with our hearts, minds, and souls, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. To be able to do this means we must sacrifice.
There are different ways to live this sacrifice. Some people get married and sacrifice for their spouse and children to get them to Heaven. Other people are called to the priesthood or religious life. I’m kind of just going to spend some time reflecting on this type of sacrifice because it’s really been heavy on my heart lately.
Choosing religious life is a huge sacrifice. I am going to be leaving behind everything, literally everything I have ever known. I won’t be able to be around my family or friends. I’ll have to let go of the comforts I’ve become accustomed to. I will have to follow the rule and way of life which includes waking up early in the morning and not choosing how I want to spend my day, but doing what I am told. I will be totally dependent on the community, with no funds of my own. Clearly, I’ve known this since I began researching this way of life. But, today and the last few days I’ve really been thinking about how much those sacrifices are going to hurt. Particularly, leaving people behind.
In the next few months I will be losing two of my pretty close friends. They are moving to different parts of the country and I won’t really be able to have the same friendships I have now with either of them once they move. I’ve also really been struggling with my family lately, just feeling on the outside and really separated. These feelings really suck. However, I was thinking about them tonight and it finally clicked that these struggles are the beginning of a large continuation of struggles. These experiences are part of the larger sacrifice that I will eventually be making (if, God willing, this process continues and I’m accepted..). I think that these small sacrifices and struggles are God’s way of easing me into this whole process. Does that make it any easier to handle, absolutely not. But, knowing that there is a bigger plan involved does help me bear it better. And knowing that I am going through this out of love is even more helpful. True love is sacrificing for another. Well, at least right now, I am striving to fully accept these sacrifices and offer them to the Lord in love.
I’m reading a book about Mary and today a quote really stuck out to me:
“We are all called to be like Mary and follow Jesus to the cross. If we desire to magnify God in our souls, we, too, must be willing to draw near to Christ’s cross and be pierced by the sword.”
-Edward Sri (Walking with Mary)
Being a disciple and follower of Jesus means we will experience suffering. Jesus never said that there would be no sacrifice. He actually was pretty clear in the fact that there would be sacrifice. He called His apostles to leave everything behind and follow Him without a second thought. However, it won’t be all negative and sorrow. Jesus uses our suffering and sacrifices to bring good things. With our sacrifice comes great joy and peace. All of this just makes me think of the stereotypical quote, “Nobody said it was going to be easy, but they did say it was going to be worth it.” I truly and completely believe this to be true about the sacrifices we make for the Lord. It isn’t going to be easy. It definitely will hurt. But the Lord will bring amazing things from those sacrifices. I’ll leave you with words from His own mouth:
“Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.” Mark 10:29-30