Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What I'm Reading...and Learning v2

The Book:  Courageous Generosity
The Topic:  Sacrifice

I'm an absolutely horrible Bible studier.  I have a hard time seeing things beneath the surface.  Thankfully, this book has a wonderful answers guide in the back.  I sometimes feel the need to check my answers to make sure I'm getting what I'm supposed to.  And then there are the times when I have no idea what I'm supposed to be getting, so I glance at it before I've even answered the question.

The other night was one of those nights where the answer guide came in very handy.  The book directed us to the story of Noah.

Genesis 6:19-20  Of all other living creatures you shall bring two into the ark, one male and one female, that you may keep them alive with you.

We're then told to read the events that unfolded after the earth dried out and Noah emerged from the ark.

Genesis 8: 20-22  Then Noah built an altar to the LORD, and choosing from every clean animal and every clean bird, he offered holocausts on the altar. When the LORD smelled the sweet odor, he said to himself: "Never again will I doom the earth because of man, since the desires of man's heart are evil from the start; nor will I ever again strike down all living beings, as I have done. As long as the earth lasts, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, Summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease."

The questions that followed these passages were, why do you think God would require a sacrifice in these circumstances?, and have you ever offered a sacrifice of Thanksgiving to God for a blessing that He has given you or your family?

It took me talking it over with hubby at dinner to finally "get it."  At least, how it applies to me.  Sure I understood that God wanted Noah to sacrifice the animals in Thanksgiving, but it was also a reminder to Noah of all that the flood cost God.  Now, how in the world this applied to me, I didn't know.  Sure, I sacrifice my time as often as possible to attend Mass and be with the Lord, I'll fast occasionally to remind myself of Christ on the cross, but when have I ever truly sacrificed in Thanksgiving as a reminder of what was lost to Christ?  I finally thought of Reconciliation and the graces that we receive as we leave our sins with Jesus and perform our penance.  In a sense, our penance is just what this book is talking about.  As I'm sitting in the church, repeating 10 Our Fathers, I am sacrificing my time, my words, my emotions to thank God for allowing me the gift of grace.  The gift of grace that He provided us when He allowed His son to die on a cross for all of us to have eternal life.  I think Lent is an exact example of this as well.  Sure, we all say we're giving up "whatever" because Jesus sacrificed for us, and we should sacrifice for him as well.  But do we really look at it as a sacrifice of Thanksgiving?  When I'm salivating over a huge piece of chocolate cake, knowing good and well that I can't eat it for another 30 or so more days, am I remembering in that moment to thank God?  I personally can answer, that no, I do not.  But after reading this section of the book, I'm definitely going to try harder?

How have you sacrificed in Thanksgiving for our God?  Think about it.

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