November 12, 2019

“…the bloodless sacrifice of the Eucharist is the primary act of worship. It is not something we do while we worship: it is what worship truly is…sacrifice remains at the heart of the Christian Faith. As a matter of fact, without it Christianity becomes reduced to a mere ethical system.” (Father Stephen Freeman, Father Eusebius Stephanou)


“…the immense value of the kingdom…far outweighs any sacrifice or inconvenience one might encounter on earth…What matters in God’s eyes is not how much we give, but how much we sacrifice." (Foundation Study Bible, Matthew 13:44, Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)


“We are called to take up the Shield of Faith through sacrifice — by freely placing the needs of others before our own—and to bring this sacrifice forth before the altar of God for our salvation and the salvation of the people. This sounds counter-intuitive. Our natural instinct is to hold on to what we have for our own protection.” (Fr. David Eynon)


“Sacrifice it too commonly thought of as giving up something. This is true but only part of what sacrifice involves and it is the far lesser part . What we gain immensely from true Christ-like sacrifice is beyond both measure and beyond the sight and understanding of those mired in worldliness. To deny yourself and sacrifice for another out of love for that person’s well-being, and to do it without any shred whatsoever of resentment, regret, or sadness, or any other feeling associated with the self, brings a sweet peace and sense of joy that can only be understood and recognized by others who are also acting in the Spirit.” (Sacramental Living Ministries)


“The proof that you love someone is not that you have warm affectionate feelings toward them. The proof is in your actions, your words and your sacrifice, your willingness to give the best of yourself and your willingness to get nothing in return…The Christian teaching does not offer a choice between fulfillment and sacrifice but rather mutual fulfillment through mutual sacrifice.” (Katherine Walden, Pastor Timothy Keller)


"...sacrifices and other religious rituals aren’t enough; God wants changed lives. He wants his people to be fair, just, merciful, and humble. God wants us to become living sacrifices (Romans 12:1-2), not just doing religious deeds, but living rightly (Jeremiah 4:4; Hebrews 9:14). It is impossible to follow God consistently without His transforming love in our hearts.” (Life Application Study, Micah 6:6-8)


“When the prophets lashed out against sacrifice, it was not against the sacrificial system as God had established it, but against the corruption of that system as the people practiced it. The same thing is found in the New Testament passages that seemingly speak against the law. Both the New Testament writers and the Hebrew prophets denounce the abuses of divine systems in human hands.” (Foundation Study Bible, Jeremiah 7:23)


“Sacrifices do not sanctify anyone, for God does not need sacrifice. What moves God to accept an offering is the conscience of the offeror, which sanctifies the sacrifice when it is pure.” (St. Irenaeus)


“In Matthew 9:13 Christ quotes the prophet Hosea when He says, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ Hosea 6:6 reads in its entirety, ‘For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.’ God was us to know Him, which means have an intimacy with Him, a deep union. Christ later says in Matthew 23:23, ‘Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.’ He is teaching us that ritual and sacrifice, without mercy, justice, and faith motivated by love that flows from a relationship with God, amounts to nothing except perhaps in us fooling ourselves that we are right with God when we are not.” (Sacramental Living Blog)


“…because of Christ's sacrifice, we are to take hold of what God offers, accepting His grace and working toward becoming mature in Christ.” (Orthodox Study Bible, Philippians 2:12-13)


“...contemporary people think life is all about finding happiness...To live for happiness means that you are trying to get something out of life. But when suffering comes along, it takes the conditions for happiness away, and so suffering destroys all your reason to keep living. But to “live for meaning” means not that you try to get something out of life but rather that life expects something from us. In other words, you have meaning only when there is something in life more important than your own personal freedom and happiness, something for which you are glad to sacrifice your happiness." (Victor Frankl)


“Most people still admire those who “do their duty,” but they don’t understand them and can’t see themselves doing the same thing. That’s because our self-centered society spurns the concept of moral or religious obligation that elevates self-sacrifice to the exclusion of personal needs. The truth is, however, that duty—properly understood—is motivated by compassion, love, justice, and mercy. But it is also misguided to think that duty does not require sacrifice and self-denial.” (Joseph O'Day)


“We have dragged down the idea of surrender and of sacrifice; we have taken the life out of the words and made them mean something sad and weary and despicable. In the Bible they mean the very opposite...Sacrifice is not giving up things, but giving to God with joy the best we have.” (Oswald Chambers)


“The proof that you love someone is not that you have warm affectionate feelings toward them. The proof is in your actions, your words and your sacrifice, your willingness to give the best of yourself and your willingness to get nothing in return." (Katherine Walden)


"The Christian teaching does not offer a choice between fulfillment and sacrifice but rather mutual fulfillment through mutual sacrifice." (Pastor Timothy Keller)


“An individual Christian may see fit to give up all sorts of things for special reasons—marriage, or meat, or beer, or the cinema; but the moment he starts saying the things are bad in themselves, or looking down his nose at other people who do use them, he has taken the wrong turning.” (C. S. Lewis)


“Fasting is really not about giving up anything. It is about gaining through giving. We voluntarily give up to gain. Instead of being focused on the giving up of certain foods we should look at it as a step in growing toward something wonderful, which is Christ Himself and the fruits of the Spirit. Like an athlete or an artist of any sort, you may give up your time for leisure to voluntarily choose to work because you want to get better are your craft. You see the hard work and leisure activities you give up as worth it to attain the goal.” (Sacramental Living Podcast)


“Jesus is trying to get us to understand a key dynamic principle. When we give up our tight grasp on our own life, we discover life as it was meant to be lived.” (Greg Laurie)


“We seek to follow Christ and live by His Spirit, but because the harvest still appears to be so far off, and because we are not yet seeing the fruits of what we have done, we are tempted to give up. As St. Paul tells us, if we struggle on, we will reap our reward if we do not lose heart.” (Father Stephen De Young)


“Let's face it. If the Kingdom of God is worth anything, it's worth everything. We are called upon by Christ Himself to lay down everything that would keep us from entering it. That is why Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to a treasure hidden in a field. Once we realize the incredible value of that precious piece, we will sell everything we have to obtain it. This divesting of our private holdings is exactly what re­pentance means. We give up what we must not keep for the incomparable riches of Jesus Christ. This cost to us is the greatest bargain we can ever know.” (Fr. Peter Gillquist)


"Detachment from pride is the imitation of Christ, because if anyone did not deserve to be derided, mocked, jeered, beaten, and put to death, it is Christ. Who are we to think we deserve better than He? Yet our pride makes us think we deserve respect, dignity, comfort. And if we think as the world thinks, we may be right. Wicked people do wicked things and get everything they want, while good people suffer. Where is the justice in that? But as Christians who have renounced the ways and, indeed, the justice of the world (for Christ’s sacrifice was by no means justice, but mercy), we are to compare ourselves not to others, but to Christ alone." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)