Tuesday, March 29, 2011

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."