During the season of Lent, many Catholics make sacrifices. We sacrifice meat on Fridays, we sacrifice entire meals on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. We even take on other sacrifices of pleasurable things that we “give up.” As we make these sacrifices, it is very tempting to focus on the sacrifice itself. We can be tempted to notice only that which I’m giving up and then it will encourage bitterness and frustration. However, what we ought to be doing is paying attention to not what we are giving up, but we ought to pay attention to the one for whom we are making these sacrifices, namely God!
When a couple is in love, they will make sacrifices for each other on a daily basis and it brings them joy. From where does this joy come? It is not from the sacrifices they make, but rather the joy comes from seeing the other whom they love while they make their sacrifices. And so it should be for us this Lent. As we make our sacrifices, great or small, let us not focus on what we are giving up, but focus on the one for whom we are making our sacrifices. When we choose this focus in our hearts, we will see that not only are we sacrificing out of love for God, but He is sacrificing out of love for us.
Fr Nathan LaLiberte