As a Franciscan postulant, I got to tag along with another postulant on a parish mission that the priests and brothers were giving. We postulants got the easy part – spending the day in the parish school. Well, torture for some people, but for me a gift.
In one class of seventh-graders, my brother postulant was leading an interactive discussion about Advent, when the topic of sacrifice came up. Now, several of the students described different ways to make sacrifices, like giving up some pleasure, fasting, and some of the other disciplines of the Church. Then, a girl raised her hand and told a short story.
She wanted to go to a party with her friends, but her mother wouldn’t let her. She wasn’t happy. She fought with her mother, and she finally decided that she would go anyway, against her mother’s wishes. When the day came around, she learned that her mother had become sick…
She chose to stay at home with her sick mother, to keep her company.
She gave up something very, very important to her – because there was someone else who she loved more. “I think sacrifice is like this,” she said.
Now I’m sure the other students are bright, but I think she was the only one who really understood what sacrifice is.
And she was the only student who was not Catholic.
“Do you love Me more than these?” (Jn 21:15) Our Lord asked this of Peter when he brought the other apostles and the fruit of his labors to Him. When we prove our Yes to this question, that is true sacrifice.