Jesus loved us so much that He willingly sacrificed Himself by dying on the cross for us. Not only did Jesus suffer and shed every drop of His most Precious Blood for the salvation of all humanity, but He suffered all those excruciating pains for you and for me.
The saints point out that if you were the only person living in the world, Jesus would have undergone all the most gruesome and horrible pains of His Sorrowful Passion just for you. As Saint Paul reminds us in his Letter to the Galatians: “Jesus suffered and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
In the Diary, Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Secretary of Divine Mercy, Saint Faustina states we can truly understand the meaning of love by one’s willingness to suffer for the loved one. Jesus loves us so much that He would willingly have suffered His Passion not once, but many times over, for every one of us. He was the innocent Lamb suffering for guilty sinners. How great is the love of Jesus for you and for me?
On a human and natural level, we all know how much suffering we experience when we manifest a great love for someone and that person is cold and indifferent to us, possibly even ignores us. Our heart breaks!!!
So it is with respect to our relationship with the greatest of all lovers—the Lord Jesus Christ. He loves us with a burning fire in His Sacred Heart. Jesus said: “I have come to cast fire on the earth, and I am not at peace until that fire be enkindled.” (Lk 12:49) The conflagration of fire in the Heart of Jesus for you and for me can barely be contained, but how do we respond to this furnace of love?
Jesus complained to Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque as He displayed His Sacred Heart surrounded by thorns with fire bursting forth: “Behold this Heart that has loved so much and has received only coldness, ingratitude and indifference in return. Console my Heart.”
One of the ways in which we can console the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a Heart overflowing with love and mercy, is to love what He loves, by offering sacrifices, even though they be small, for the conversion and salvation of poor sinners. Jesus does not look so much at the greatness of the action, but rather, at the intensity of love in the action. Remember the Biblical story of the widow’s mite.
In fact, immortal souls can be saved from the fires of hell and attain eternal salvation if, like the children of Fatima, we can form the habit of offering small sacrifices to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary with purity of intention and great love. Pope Saint John Paul II called Jacinta, “A Little Victim Soul” because she did just that!
Therefore, we would like to offer a list of small sacrifices that you can undertake and share with your family. Every small sacrifice is a concrete manifestation of your love for Jesus and what Jesus loves most: the conversion and salvation of poor sinners for all eternity!
Sacrifices Offered With Love to Jesus for the Salvation of Souls
1. Heroic Minute (Moment)
Promoted by Saint Josemaria Escriva, the Founder of Opus Dei. As soon as you hear your alarm clock, spring to your feet and make your Morning Offering for the day. The Cure of Ars stated that he who starts the day well, is most likely to live the day well, and end it well!
2. Curbing the Tongue
We should all read James 3—the best chapter on the sins of the tongue! A great sacrifice that we can make, especially when we find ourselves frustrated and angry, is to follow the advice of Saint James: “We should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” (Jas. 1:10)
3. Kind and Encouraging Words
Never allow a day to go by in which you fail to say Thank You to God, as well as to say Thank You to others. To say both please and thank you are condiments that give special seasoning to the domestic life. (Read the book named The Hidden Power of Kindness by Fr. Lovasik)
4. Smile Even When You Do Not Feel Like It
A nagging headache, a lingering cold, pangs of a stomachache, we all experience these. Often, we trumpet and publicize them. How difficult (but how pleasing to God it would be) if when we don’t feel up to par physically, we smile at our husband or wife or another family member instead! Sadness and a frown are contagious; but a smile and joy are also contagious. A sincere and radiant smile is one of the clearest signs of being a follower of Christ!
5. Banish Bad Thoughts Immediately
Indecent and bad thoughts, we all have them! However, the question is, what do we do with them? Once a priest asked a man if he entertained bad thoughts. The man responded: “No, Father, they entertained me!” As soon as we become aware of any bad, impure, indecent, or sinful thought, we should immediately and forcefully reject that thought in our will and invoke the grace of God and the help of Mary most pure!
6. Cut Off on the Freeway: Pray and Do Not Curse
All of us have experienced through years of driving on the Freeway or residential streets, people cutting in front of us and cutting us off. And if we’re honest, sometimes we do the same. Our immediate reaction is to cuss or curse them out! However, the Lord Jesus would prefer that we pray for them. Jesus says that we have to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. Next time some driver cuts you off, pray a Hail Mary for him that he may have a safe trip now and arrive safely in Heaven later. How hard that is—the flesh recoils, but how pleasing to God when we overcome our resistance!
7. Pray Even When You Do Not Feel Like It
Unfortunately, many people follow their feelings more than they follow faith and reason. The saints prayed often, even when they did not feel like praying. Jesus experienced a profound desolation and sadness in the Garden of Olives, but He prayed all the more fervently. May Jesus be our sublime example, especially in prayer!
8. Read a Chapter From the Bible Every Day, or Every Night Before Bed
The mental/spiritual discipline of reading, especially the best of books, can be a real sacrifice for many. Start with the Gospels and read a chapter every night. If you do this, you will begin to know, love, and desire to follow Jesus more closely in your life. It is impossible to love someone we do not know very well. We come to know Jesus by reading and meditating upon the Bible, the Word of God.
9. Do Your Task at Hand, Your Daily Work, Better
All of us are assigned by God a job or work to carry out each day. It might be to study if we are a student, or perform the work of a homemaker, a factory or office worker, a teacher, nurse or doctor, etc. If we are honest with ourselves, we all know that we could improve our work ethic! How easy it is to come late, to cut corners, and to do the job by halves.
As the saying goes: “If a job is worth doing, then it is worth doing well.” Saint Paul reminds us: “Whether you eat or drink, do all for the honor and glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31)
10. Take the Last Place and the Smallest Portion
Due to pride, vanity, and gluttony, we naturally prefer the place of honor. Also, we prefer the best and biggest portions. Why not get in the habit of seeking the lowest place and the least portion. Jesus reminds us of true greatness: “God casts down the proud, but He exalts the humble.” (Lk. 1:52)
We have offered a list of ten concrete ways in which we can make small sacrifices in our daily lives. Maybe choose one or two a day and be faithful to your proposal. Never forget that love is manifested by the willingness to suffer for the loved one. How much Jesus loves us and suffered for us. What are we willing to sacrifice and suffer for Jesus, the Greatest of all Lovers!!!