The life of Nazareth
January 17, 2013
Dear Family of Mary!
"Dear children! Today I call you to live Lent by means of your little sacrifices. Thank you for every sacrifice you have brought me. Dear children, live that way continuously, and with your love help me to present the sacrifice. God will reward you for that. Thank you for having responded to my call." (March 13, 1986)
I know that it is not Lent yet, but this message connects with something I read by Caryll Houselander, and I think it is profound. Our Lady is so wise. She doesn't call us to make a huge sacrifice, a costly self-denial. She suggests that we "live Lent by means of your little sacrifices." She suggests little sacrifices lived continuously, with love. Isn't this the Way of the Little Flower, St. Therese? It must have been the heavenly way of life in Nazareth, in the home of the Holy Family. Little sacrifices done out of love for each other, creating a family life of great joy.
Caryll wrote this about sacrifice:
If Christ is growing in you, you are growing towards sacrifice. If the spirit of sacrifice is not growing in you, Christ is not growing in you, no matter how ardently you may think of him or how eloquently you may speak of him. But if day after day your life gathers to a culmination of sacrifice, then it is certain that Christ waxes strong in you.
A sacrifice is not, as so many people imagine, a mortification; it is not something that is meritorious according to its degree of unpleasantness; on the contrary, in real sacrifice, there is joy which surpasses all other joys, it is the crescendo and culmination of love. (Caryll Houselander. "This War is the Passion". P. 10)
Mother Mary is with us to recreate the wonderful family love of Nazareth in each of our families. She wants us to know the true joy of family life, of communal life. This joy comes from love, expressed in little sacrifices made for the good of the other. This is the joy of life! We make ourselves gifts for the other.
My dear husband, Denis, is pretty good at making little sacrifices. He would be shy about me telling you, but here is an example. He very often wakes up before me, and quietly goes downstairs to put on the coffee and turn up the thermostat, so that when I wake up the house is warm and smells of the fresh brew! It is a little sacrifice for him. But it communicates a great deal to me. He cares about me, in the little things. He braves the cold floor, the dark stairway, just to prepare the morning for me.
That is what makes heaven out of ordinary life. Little sacrifices, offered out of love.
Mother Mary, please help us to learn to love like you do, through little sacrifices offered continually, out of love for God and for each other. We do want Christ to grow in us!
In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
©Mary TV 2013