Tag Archives: Sacrifice

Sacrificial Effort

20120321-155448.jpgSome days, I get a teeny-weeny glimpse of the efforts God makes in seeking us out and drawing us to himself. Some days, you feel like you’re chasing after people all day long. “Sorry you couldn’t make it!” “We missed you last week – such a shame you couldn’t be there!” when inside you’re thinking, “Where were you?!” Now amidst everything, I need to squeeze in an extra hour somewhere to catch up. To be honest, this often works out for the best: it usually means a good chance for a one-on-one which is often very fruitful.

One of the tricky things about initiation catechesis is people’s lives. We can prepare everything beautifully, but the most important thing that needs preparation is people’s hearts – to receive the catechesis. And it helps if they’re actually there in the first place.

This means that, almost as important as our catechetical work with people, is our pastoral support. The one-on-one time. Ensuring that people are neither overburdened, or need more input to spur them on. I try to keep good contact with each adult in our initiation process (believe me, we’re talking a wide range of stages… from very early enquirer to very-nearly-almost-there). Some of them long to become Catholic like they have never longed for anything before, while others are resistant, slightly cynical, unsure. Some need more help than you can give them, and that’s why it’s helpful to know some good Catholic counsellors.

The sponsors, too, are engaged in this mission of “sacrificial effort”. The best effort that we make for others are the prayers and sacrifice we offer for them without them knowing. I know some incredible sponsors and others in our parish who I am certain – simply by seeing the fruitfulness of their lives – pray and offer sacrifice for those they sponsor or befriend, for their conversion. And who knows who has done this for us?

I wanted to write this post following the previous one on “Fruitfulness”, simply because God wants to see our desire for others’ conversions, he wants to see our passion and zeal for souls, and we show him our desire through our prayer and sacrifice. This is essential to being a lay apostle, a co-redeemer with Christ. How much do we want it?

“Let your heart be an altar”

Over the weekend, I’ve been reading some more of Jeffrey Pinyan’s book, Praying the Mass. It really is a must-read for anyone who would like to participate more fully in the Mass.

It hit me again how, during the offertory prayers of the Mass, we are each called to offer our own sacrifice, represented in the bread and wine. When Christ died for us on the Cross, His Sacrifice was all that was needed to draw us back into communion with the Father. This is the Sacrifice that is made present at the Mass. But what is different about the Mass from Calvary is that we are there, and we are invited to “complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church” (Col. 1:24) – that is, we are to complete our own participation in Christ’s life. How? By joining our own sacrifice with Christ’s. This is why the priest says “my sacrifice and yours”: the priest offers the bread and wine (and then, the Eucharist); we join to this offering our very selves: it is as if we are saying, ‘Yes, Lord, take my life too.’

Or, as St Peter Chrysologus wrote: “Let your heart be an altar.” It’s a good question to ask as we prepare for Mass: What is the sacrifice on the altar of my heart?