About this blogger:
Ronda Chervin received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Fordham University and an MA in Religious Studies from Notre Dame Apostolic Institute. A widow, mother, and grandmother, she currently teaches philosophy at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut. Write to her at chervinronda@gmail.com.
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“The Jesuits have spoiled the work of Christian antiquity, under pretext of restoring the hymns in accordance with the laws of metre and elegant language.”
— M. Ulysse Chevalier (1891)

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Day 36: New Theme - The Way of Love: Sacrifice
published 10 January 2012 by Dr. Ronda Chervin

What you will read now is part of a series of 100 spiritual challenges. Each blog can be viewed separately, but for maximum benefit a reader needs to start with the introductory blog of November 18, 2011, and then continue step by step. Day One begins on Sunday, November 20, 2011.
    [ Click here for 100 STEPS ]

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” (Hebrews 9:11-12)

(For those who are new to this series, each week I work on a new theme in the Way of Love. On the first day I give a short teaching.)

Teaching about Sacrifice: Christianity is about hope but it is also about sacrifice, since the very essence of Christianity is the sacrifice of Christ for us on the cross. All of us have to sacrifice just to exist. Sometimes the necessary sacrifices are easier to make than voluntary ones, but sometimes it is the opposite. For example, sometimes working to put bread on the table is easier than giving up a favorite TV program to help a child with homework. But sometimes it is easier to give up some treat than to perform necessary sacrifices for the family such as commuting on a crowded freeway. Even penitential saints sometimes chose joy over voluntary penances. I love to think of the highly sacrificial St. John of the Cross taking his contemplative monks out for a pleasant walk in the mountains because they seemed bored. They sang as they strolled, putting religious words into the popular tunes of the day.

Even those of us who try to avoid sacrifices wouldn’t want to be considered, well, simply too selfish to make sacrifices for others. Given the healthiness of a normal balance between suffering and joy in life, I find it helpful to realize that doing little deeds of love for others is an antidote to depression. How so? Because, as Thomas Aquinas taught, we can only love ourselves loving. Sitting feeling miserable is not being loving. During this week of following a Way of Love: Step by Step through sacrifice, you may find it to be true that making little voluntary sacrifices actually lifts your spirits.

Day 36: The Challenge of Monitoring Loving Sacrifices or Signs of Self-Centeredness

Tease: Is Trying to be Holy your Hobby or your Vocation?

Graphic: poster with gold stars on it?

Scripture: “Be ye perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Dr. Ronda’s examples: I was planning to just do a scorecard on sacrificial vs. self-centered things I saw during a whole day. Instead I jumped into doing more loving things myself such as: returning phone calls when not “in the mood.” Disposing of dead squirrel the cat brought into the house since I was first up at a family dwelling I am visiting for Christmas vs. waiting for the men to do it. Sacrifices observed included how even though I said I would do them, my daughter helped with washing the big messy steak pans. My son-in-law turning off the A/C so I wouldn’t be so cold. At Mass I racked up all the sacrifices to make the Church so beautiful for Christmas when many non-practicing Catholics and other Christians come, but also just for us, the regulars. Even though he celebrates 4 Masses on the weekends, my Pastor makes the sacrifice to say at Saturday AM Mass in honor of Mary throughout the year. Watching the noble, very formal way He says Mass, I realized that although I don’t like formality when repressed people do exhibit it, when a free-spirited type like this Pastor is highly formal at the Mass, it is different. I could see how he becomes formal as a priest, because he loves so much the sacred meaning of the Mass, not because he prefers formality in general. A sacrifice I made later was being in the family room having to listen to a Christmas Medley when Bach was followed by a song asking Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer to provide a “rock” Christmas.

Your examples:

Prayer: Jesus, we like to sacrifice for others in ways we choose, but only You can make us want to sacrifice for others when we are forced to by life, or by obedience, or “compelled” promptings of the Holy Spirit. This week as we struggle with following the Way of Love: Step by Step, be with us moment by moment urging us on.

Read more blog entries by Dr. Ronda Chervin by visiting RondaView. Dr. Ronda Chervin has many free e-books and audios on her website, rondachervin.com. If you go to her website and read or listen and then want to correspond with her she will be available. Her schedule does not permit, however, responding to comments on the Blog, though she enjoys reading them. Dr. Ronda’s newest project is spiritualityrunningtogod.com.

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