Column: Sacrifice essential to love, hope in family life

by Jacki Corrigan

Where did it go? The first half of Lent has passed as quickly as sand slipping through an hourglass.

I remember the Lents of my childhood, which were marked by the sacrifice of living without candy. Those weeks moved as slowly as a freight train being pushed manually.

It was on Good Friday that my mother had us keep silent from noon to 3 p.m. It was a time to stay in my room and pray. I must admit that in my younger years I had a supply of crayons on hand and some paper just in case. But to this day, I remember the quiet of that time with a sense of awe and peace.

Those childhood years were about a limited understanding of sacrifice.
It was there that we learned to give of ourselves. It was there that we laid the foundation for our adult understanding of sacrifice. And, it was there that we first opened our hearts and minds to the Christ who gives us hope.

However, as the years expanded so, too, did my understanding of sacrifice. While Lent has a much richer understanding in my adult life, I feel a challenge to my heart to better live out my faith.

I see sacrifice as an integral part of love and hope — much like a father or mother who has the good of their child before them, and daily makes sacrifices with love for the sake of their child.

Love and sacrifice are intermingled because they are the wellspring of hope.

My husband and I hoped that God would guide our children, protect them and draw them closely to his heart. We hoped their faith would be a guiding strength in their lives.

It was faith and family that became our priorities. It was an ever-present hope for them that guided us and called us into sacrifice, as it does to all loving parents. What continues to penetrate my heart is that the sacrifices, when looked back upon, were actually joys, and not burdens, because they multiplied our love and our hope which, in turn, made sacrifice possible.

Pope Benedict XVI said: “Human beings were created in the image and likeness of God for love, and that complete human fulfillment only comes about when we make a sincere gift of ourselves to others. The family is the privileged setting where every person learns to give and receive love.”

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