Rescue worker remove fatally injured New York City Fire Department chaplain Rev. Mychal Judge from one of the World Trade Center towers in New York City, early September 11, 2001.

Sacrifice is the miracle that makes great things possible.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Self-sacrifice is a miracle in action. There are times when our world seems to be driven by greed and selfishness. One of the most powerful things to experience is a personal observation of one who freely gives for the sake of others.  This story is one we watch unfold during the Christian observance of Holy Week.

Self-sacrifice is the act of deliberately following a course of action that has a high risk or certainty of suffering. We have witnessed such selfless action by our children as they cry out for an end to gun violence.  They have exposed themselves at great cost.  Pope Francis offered his support for their sacrifice in his Palm Sunday homily.

Such action always entails personal loss which could otherwise be avoided in order to achieve a benefit for others. It carries a powerful message saying; ‘There is something I want more than life itself. There is something more important.’

We are sanctifying our actions when we make sacrifices. The drive to make a personal difference, whether by living a life of service or rising to the occasion when it becomes clear that someone must, is the essence of self-sacrifice. We trade the uncertainty of options for the certainty of gloom when we surrender to despair. Life isn’t filled only with difficulty and pain. It is also filled with people whose dignity and spirit rise above their circumstances. There are situations when great sacrifice or love and wisdom turn a problem into an opportunity and strength. If we look at what has happened in our own lives and in those of others, we have ample reason to hope. This hope can change the world.

Today I will embrace self-sacrifice to make a difference!

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