Love and sacrifice are closely linked, like the sun and the light. We cannot love without suffering, and we cannot suffer without love." St. Gianna Beretta Molla
When Gianna Beretta wrote those words she had no idea that she would sacrifice her life for her child, but it wasn't a concept which was foreign to her. As a doctor, she had seen her share of sacrifice and suffering in life. Many doctors can tell stories of the heroic lives of some of their patients and how they endured pain with dignity and strength.
What enables a person to do that? Certainly St. Gianna was right when she said that love is the motivating factor and our Christian faith says the same. For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son (John 3:16) God offered His Son for us out of love; is it any wonder that love and sacrifice are so entwined? It is love which makes us open and vulnerable to suffering, and love is the only way to endure it when it comes.
Most of us will not have to give our lives, but we are all called to die to ourselves, to renounce the physical for the sake of the spiritual. That's why penance is still such an important concept in Christianity, especially during Lent, so we can subdue our bodies and surrender ourselves for a higher purpose: Love.
"Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:1-2) May the love of Christ reign in our hearts and help us to sacrifice for those around us.
St. Gianna Beretta Molla, pray for us!