Because Sometimes, We Sacrifice

Recently, my husband and I have felt saddened by the powerful sense we have monumentally wasted our time on an endeavor that we had hoped would build up the body of Christ. We don’t have a lot of treasure to offer the Church, but we have some talent and we found the time. Instead, our efforts seem to have not borne fruit.

Today, a dear friend reminded me that nothing is a waste of time if done for the love of Christ. Instead, she said, we need to consider our efforts a sacrifice whose benefits we might never know.  Also, because of the powerful Catholic understanding of the Communion of Saints, unknown to us, our sacrifices might be bearing fruit in another part of the world.

Consider, for example, teaching teens. I do not expect to see if my presence in their lives will bear fruit. That does not mean my time with them is wasted. 

So it is that Father Luigi Giussani, who founded the lay ecclesiastical movement Communion and Liberation, wrote this to four missionaries heading to Brazil in 1962: “Be deeply rooted in love for the Kingdom of God, which happens not because of what you do, but through the offering of sacrifice. It is only the Cross that saves the world.”

How little our efforts and our sacrifices seem when compared to Christ’s, who spent three years in active public ministry, performing miracles and risking his safety, only to be abandoned by his dearest friends and killed in the cruelest manner?

And so I will take Father Giussani’s words to heart and pray that I will understand I am not capable of seeing the fruits of our efforts.

“May this make you calm and joyful in whatever task you are assigned. …So, even if your work doesn’t go as you had dreamed, accept it happily; feel the kingdom of God… much more in never being discouraged, in adapting yourselves to everything, than in any other ability.”

  • Paula

    Wise counsel! Thanks!I recommended your blog on my last blog post – check it out if you like!

  • Anonymous

    Allison, thanks for your wonderful post…and please be the one to remind me of these things when I will need it!Your dear friend

  • Anonymous

    "'I'm tired of suffering,' therefore, make me understand the reason and love that exists in suffering, make me understand the humanity that exists in suffering, make me understand the love toward Being that lies in suffering, make me understand the love toward Christ that lies in suffering, make me understand the love toward You, O Mystery, that lies in suffering. Then, one is no longer scandalized by suffering. 'I'm tired of suffering' is the scandal of suffering that seems to be the opposite of 'Give me life.' Instead, it's the condition for life." (Fr. Giussani, It is Possible to Live This Way? vol. III, p. 87)

  • Allison

    @Anon 2:30: Will do, dear friend!

  • Allison

    @Paula: Thanks for the thumbs up. And I enjoy reading your blog. I've never been to Alaska so thanks for sharing a piece of your world with the rest of us.