"When I was a little boy, whenever something didn't go my way, or when I got hurt, my mother would always say, 'Offer it up.' I didn't quite understand the depth of this maternal wisdom until years later. But in effect, she was saying, 'Don't waste your time wallowing in self-pity. Let it go. Move on. Give it to God.'
"To truly sacrifice something, anything, is to offer it up for something greater. The word sacrifice comes from the Latin word meaning 'to make holy.' A holy life is one that regularly seeks out the greater by letting go of the smaller — viewpoint, situation, or past memory. To live well as a human being involves sacrificing often. This does not mean that the process has to look or feel holy. Rather, to sacrifice means to let go of one's attachment to comfort and reach out to help another person or improve a situation, thus viewing life from a different perspective. Examples: parents who lovingly care for a disabled child, or grandparents who babysit their grandchildren while their single parent goes to work, or a busy executive who volunteers his or her time to tutor inner city children in reading. These are channels of enlarging one's heart and mind. This is the disciplined work of attention to one's interior life and to the needs of others. This is the antithesis of laziness or a self-centered approach to reality.
"Sacrificing is a means of cutting back the weeds of our interior garden in order that we might more clearly see the real beauty of life. One of the benefits of the aging process is that we begin to notice this truth more often. Yes, life slows us down but we see more clearly. We may do fewer things, but with more attention and understanding of the meaning of it all. Grandchildren are a wonderful gift in this process and can be reminders of what is most important in life.
"One of the great endowments that young children can give adults is the ever-new blessing of awe and wonder about reality. Whether it is the awe of animals, or wonder of a flower, or the delight in bubbles, children help us tap into our inner child. Sometimes in our overly rational approach to reality, we can lose our connection to wonder and amazement and thus we, in a sense, lose our way in the cosmos. Entrapment in bitterness, cynicism, or an overly rationalistic approach to life, can lead to a calcified state of existence. Laughter and tears, which come so easily and frequently to children, are often forgotten and neglected by adults. Tears occur when the soul experiences the pain of life, while laughter blossoms when the soul sees the absurdity of life. To laugh and weep often is a good sign of a healthy soul, an embodied sign of offering up the situation and letting it go, like a floating bubble.
"That which is truly sacrificed to God becomes glorified or transformed."