Today, the Lord said to me, I demand of you a perfect and whole-burnt offering; an offering of the will. No other sacrifice can compare with this one. I Myself am directing your life and arranging things in such a way that you will be for Me a continual sacrifice and will always do My will (Jesus to St. Faustina, Diary, 923).
In the Old Testament, there were different types of sacrifices offered to God. The most perfect of the bloody sacrifices was the holocaust, also called the whole-burnt offering, in which the animal or object was immolated by fire and completely consumed. It was a “perpetual sacrifice,” offered morning and evening. Because of St. Faustina’s holiness and obedience, she was graced with these consoling words from Christ himself that, through her life, she would be a perfect and continual sacrifice. Her life was a witness of total love and devotion to Christ and she lived it in perfect service to him. Although Jesus asked much of Faustina, he gifted her with immense joy and peace on earth and with him in heaven for eternity.
Although we may never reach the level of her sanctity, there are times in life when we feel like St. Faustina – like a whole-burnt offering – when the Lord demands so much of us, we feel as though we have nothing left to give. Our second daughter, who has high-functioning autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, has recently encountered a difficult period in her life and has experienced a setback in her condition. This has been difficult for her and for our entire family. Our lives had to come to a halt as we attended to her needs and began the journey of helping her up and back onto her feet. We love her immensely and will do whatever it takes to make sure she is healthy and has the best possible treatment and education we can provide for her. This bump in the road has lead us to make the consequential decision to homeschool our daughter.
As a result of our decision, I have had to give up many of my own plans and projects to devote most of my days to schooling her. “Not my will but thine be done” has necessarily become my prayer, as I offer my time and my will to God in caring for her. It has not been easy, and I have done it very imperfectly, but my love for her and for the Lord has helped me to embrace this cross. I am reminded of the Sacrifice of the Cross, when Our Lord poured out his life for us, even when we were sinners. This encourages me to continue to walk the path he has chosen for our family. I think also of the the Mass, “the source and summit of the Christian life, (CCC #1324)” when we celebrate the “memorial of his sacrifice,” (CCC #1357) and I am trying to go to the Sacrament of the Eucharist as often as I can to receive strength from the Body and Blood of Christ.
Prophetically, just before this setback our daughter experienced, I was cleaning out a storage closet in our home and rediscovered an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe which I had framed and blessed many years ago. Not coincidentally, the Catholic homeschool group which our family joined as associate members is named after Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This timely rediscovery of the image, the patroness of the homeschool group, has reassured me that we are making the right decision for our daughter and our family. I truly believe there are no coincidences. God can use even the smallest details in our lives to reveal his love and care for us and to reaffirm that we are on the right path if we have faith and our eyes are open to see his signs and we pause to listen for the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit.
Through prayer, I feel consolation even during a difficult time, especially when reflecting on Jesus’ words to the holy St. Faustina: “I Myself am directing your life and arranging things in such a way that you will be for Me a continual sacrifice...” His love and care for us sustain us and comfort us when we are in the fire and feel as though our lives are a perpetual sacrifice. It can be frightening to embark on a new path in life such as we recently have; however, knowing that he is always with us, we are trusting that he will guide our way and lead us where we need to be.
(Image by Marcaroni from Pixabay)