Understanding True Sacrifice

I got this quote from The Dawn Patrol where they posted it as a quote of the day and the first person to guess the author of the quote will win the book from which the quote was extracted.

I don’t know about you but, for me, the quote is a prize as it is. Stumbling upon it and learning the truth behind it help us know more about that Big Man up there and strengthen our relationship with Him, which is, far more beautiful and beneficial than anything else in this world.

Here it is:

“In all religions sacrifice is at the heart of worship. But this is a concept that has been buried under the debris of endless misunderstandings. The common view is that sacrifice has something to do with destruction. It means handing over to God a reality that is in some way precious to man. Now this handing over presupposes that it is withdrawn from use by man, and that can only happen through its destruction, its definite removal from the hands of man. But this immediately raises the question: What pleasure is God supposed to take in destruction? Is anything really surrendered to God through destruction? One answer is that the destruction always conceals within itself the act of acknowledging God’s sovereignty over all things. But can such a mechanical act really serve God’s glory? Obviously not. True surrender to God looks very different. It consists — according to the Fathers, in fidelity to biblical thought — in the union of man and creation with God. Belonging to God has nothing to do with destruction or non-being: it is rather a way of being. It means emerging from the state of separation, of apparent autonomy, of existing only for oneself and in oneself. It means losing oneself as the only possible way of finding oneself (cf. Mk 8:35; Mt 10:39). That is why St. Augustine could say that the true “sacrifice” is the civitas Dei, that is, love-transformed mankind, the divinization of creation and the surrender of all things to God: God all in all (cf. 1 Cor. 15:28). That is the purpose of the world. That is the essence of sacrifice and worship.” (emphasis added)

— Pope Benedict (writing as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger), The Spirit of the Liturgy

Most of the time, we sacrifice something, either a person, thing, memories or past experiences, by getting rid of them and not wanting to have anything to do with them anymore. It’s like saying, “God these things are yours now. I don’t want anything to do with them anymore. Whatever your plans for them are, I don’t care. I’m offering them up to you. They are yours.”

Can you relate?

I can.

But the idea of true sacrifice is not taking these things off our lives but letting God make His way on them.

How can God be glorified through my struggle? How can God’s love be shown through this person I really hate? How can God’s power manifest through my problems?

God wants us to let Him into everything in our lives, no matter what they are, no matter how personal, dark or insane they are. Through this we are acknowledging his sovereignty over everything…God all in all…The very essence of sacrifice and worship.

2 thoughts on “Understanding True Sacrifice

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