Sacrifice for Others: The Space Where Love Exists

27 Mar
Fritz Eichenberg - The Black Crucifixion

Fritz Eichenberg - The Black Crucifixion

 My mother is a breast-cancer survivor. During her doctor visits and all the treatments, my father was always right beside her, making sure she was taken care of. It was very taxing for both of them, but my dad was always at her service.

  I was out of town recently and a particular circumstance forced me to stay with a family I had never met; they were friends of friends. When I arrived at the house late at night I found the bathroom totally cleaned and the bedroom waiting and prepared for me. I was struck by their hospitality because I had never met these people.

  My best friend is always available to talk, no matter the time of day, no matter what sort of neurotic mess I’ve gotten myself into and he is never scandalized or embarrassed by my weakness.

  What do these experiences have in common? The common thread is that they are all examples of sacrifice. Some think, the value of sacrifice lies in its difficulty. The true value of sacrifice is in recognizing the other, affirming the other. Sacrifice is worth something only because it is done for someone. My father, that hospitable family, and my friend all looked away from themselves, even if only for a minute, recognized the needs of the other, and lived for another. In these experiences life exists, communion between people exists’ and life-giving communion exists. In a word, love exists.

  Living for the other implies not living for one’s self. In my experience, it is an unfortunate fact of reality that it’s easier to live for and affirm myself, and it’s difficult to live for the other. The Christian season of Lent is a time in which the Church helps us to recognize two things: our human need for Otherness; and how difficult it can be to turn away from ourselves toward the other. Lent guides us on our journey to acknowledge the Presence of God, who is Other, and who is always in our midst, and to acknowledge him as the proposed answer to our need for otherness. In Him, who is Love itself, we find the freedom and peace we all desire.

 Christ on the cross, and the Church that announces this event, loudly proclaims the reality that God is not against us, He is for us. God sacrifices for us; that is, he recognizes and meets our need, and lives for us. I think we, modern urban Americans, have a hard time acknowledging this beautiful fact. Reality is not against me. If God is for us, who can be against us? He came to serve. While we were yet sinners He died for us.

– P.J. Butler

One Response to “Sacrifice for Others: The Space Where Love Exists”

  1. MaryBeth March 27, 2012 at 9:46 am #

    What a beautiful reflection! “Living for the other”… we reach closer to the end of Lent and the glory of the resurrection I am moved by these words….”our human need for Otherness and how difficult it can be to turn away from ourselves towards the other”…thanks for sharing this and fostering more food for thought on my Lenten journey.

    Mary Beth S.

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