Latest Thoughts

Recent Blogs

Sacrifice

“The sacrificial system of the Old Testament is not the slaughter of innocent creatures in order to appease the wrath of an angry god with their blood. It is the means of the purification of sin, which allows human persons to draw close to God once again and share a sacred meal of communion…the death of Christ is not the ultimate example of God avenging His justice through punishing His Son. Rather, it is the Son offering Himself up to be eaten as food by the faithful to purify them of sin and to share with them His eternal, divine life.” (Fr. Stephen De Young)


“Above all, to love God means to worship Him. Worship in Scripture is centered on sacrifice. And what is sacrifice? It is not about killing animals or merely about giving something up. Not all Old Covenant sacrifices involved animals (some included drink, wheat cakes, etc.), and a thing can be given up without making a sacrifice. The clue is that sacrifices were always in the form of food. To sacrifice is to share a meal with your god. All ancient religions practiced this…In the sacrifice offered by Christ and given to Christians—the Eucharist—He is offering hospitality to us and making us part of His own family.” (Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick)


“Ancient sacrifices did have costs: animals and other offerings were expensive commodities, and preparation for sacrificing required much work and time. However, ancients did not consider the idea of sacrifice to be defined by these costs, anymore than we see a party as defined by the work and expense that goes into it. Their focus was on the joyful goal of the work, rather than on the work itself. We, on the contrary, have completely lost the joy of sacrifice in our obsession with its costs…When the Bible and the ancient Church Fathers call us to sacrifice, they are not imposing heroic burdens upon us. No, they are inviting us to set aside mundane, worldly pursuits in order to engage God and our neighbors in holy fellowship…our definition of sacrifice as loss and cost would have perplexed ancient people, including the people of the Bible—they had a very different understanding of sacrifice.” (Fr. Jeremy Davis)


“Spiritual practices and disciplines such as fasting, our rule of prayer, or attending the divine services are useful, but if we allow them to become stressful, we must examine our attitude. God desires our effort and our love. He wishes to see us struggle and strive…Christ sacrificed Himself out of love, not out of necessity.” (Dr. Eugenia Scarvelis Constantinou)


“What does it mean to take up one’s cross? If the Cross of Christ represents His self-sacrifice for humankind, perhaps, our cross is our self-sacrifice for the good of others. If on the Cross Christ offered Himself for the world, perhaps taking up our cross means offering our lives to others. With this in mind, we recall that Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:12). Thus, self-giving is the essence of love. If this is true, then all who follow the Lord are to be priests. They are called to offer themselves for the blessing of others…God suffered for love so that we might share in “the responsibility and privilege real love entails.” We can share in God’s love and self-sacrifice on the cross by taking up our own crosses. We “place ourselves on the altar with” Christ when we choose loving self-sacrifice rather than endeavoring to assert our own wills.” (Fr. Basil, Fr. Ted Bobosh)


“…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 Ministries)

“…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)

“On this occasion, I am wondering about the most precious thing that God ever granted to man: his heart. If any of us watches himself, he realizes what kind of “work” takes place there, a work of love and unity. Parents are aware of such work, because life and experience shape them in such a way that they are called to overcome themselves, be attentive, take care, be responsible, and be able to sacrifice themselves for another's sake. They learn to love and understand, to some extent, what love is about.” (Metropolitan Silouan)

“Christian service, like athletics, requires training and sacrifice. Our discipline and obedience largely define whether or not we will be contributors or merely spectators.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 Timothy 6:11,12)

“True peace is bound up in the sacrificial offering of Christ on the Cross. Peace is interdependent with sacrifice. The services of the Church bring us into the atmosphere of peace, for this peace comes from God. Peace can enter the world only if it takes root in the hearts of humans, and this peace requires sacrifice.” (Abbot Tryphon)

“The glory of the Christian Gospel is that God not only demanded that sacrifice, but He provided it as well.” (Albert Mohler, Jr.)

“Sacrifice” is another word liable to misunderstanding. It is generally held to be noble and loving in proportion as its sacrificial nature is consciously felt by the person who is sacrificing himself. The direct contrary is the truth. To feel sacrifice consciously as self-sacrifice argues a failure in love.” (Dorothy L. Sayers)

“...when we do give to God what He asks, He returns to us far more than we could dream. The spiritual benefits of his blessings far outweigh our sacrifices.” (Life Application Study Bible, Genesis 22:12)

“And this is the first lesson in holiness…namely, that serving others means that we must be willing to sacrifice our own ambitions—what we want and where we want to be.” (Fr. John W. Fenton)

“Prayer is ultimately an act of sacrifice greater than any burnt offering or financial donation. True prayer is an offering up of the one and only thing that we humans truly have of our own to give away: our will. Prayer is the verbal gift of our choice to the ways of the Ultimate Other, of God.” (Archbishop Demetrios of America)

"the Lord commissioned us to be victorious not only over death"from outside," but also over death"from within," that is, over our own selfishness…He asked us, as Christians, to abide by love rather than by hate, by hope rather than by despair, by faith rather than by logic, by justice rather than by injustice, by forgiveness rather than by resentment, by humility rather than by vanity and arrogance, and by sacrifice rather than by self-interest.” (Metropolitan Silouan)

“To guard a nation against attack requires constant surveillance and early detection. The armed forces of our nation remain ready for deployment at any time, but without the gathering of intelligence such preparedness is of little value. The same is true of our life in Christ. Prayer, worship, and the sacraments help us but little unless we are trained in the use of these spiritual weapons, employ them regularly, and stay aware of developments around us.” (Dynamis 6/3/2014)

"What matters in God’s eyes is not how much we give, but how much we sacrifice." (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“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)

“Many people are perfectly willing to deny themselves certain things and make sacrifices for some greater purpose. An athlete endures physical hardship and observes strict diets in order to reach and maintain the physical condition required to succeed in his sport. Others abstain from certain foods for reasons of health or beauty. Yet tell such people to do the same for Christ, and one is often met with a whole host of objections, with jeering or even anger.” (Archimandrite Vassilios Papavassiliou)

“…love is not only expressed by showing respect; it is also expressed through self-sacrifice and servant hood.” (Life Application Study Bible, 1 John 2:7,8)

“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)

“Whoever has faith in God and a sacrificial spirit does not consider himself…When someone does not cultivate the spirit of sacrifice, he thinks only of himself and wants everybody else to sacrifice themselves for him. But whoever thinks only of himself is isolated from others as well as from God – a double isolation – in which case he cannot receive divine grace. He becomes a useless person.” (Elder Paisios)

"The concept of sacrifice, of course, is central to the Christian faith. Our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ willingly sacrificed Himself for us. In turn, we are told by our Savior:"If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” — Matthew 16:24”) (Rev. Fr. David Eynon)

“God wants us to offer ourselves, not animals, as living sacrifices—daily laying aside our own desires to follow him, putting all our energy and resources at his disposal and trusting him to guide us.” (Life Application Study Bible, Romans 12:1)

“Opportunities to grow in the spirit of sacrifice come to us every day.” (Dynamis 4/17/2014)


#DorothyLSayers #FrJohnWFenton #ArchbishopDemetriosofAmerica #MetropolitanSilouan #ArchimandriteVassiliosPapavassiliou #KatherineWalden #OswaldChambers #ElderPaisios #RevFrDavidEynon #AlbertMohlerJr #CSLewis #SacramentalLivingPodcast #GregLaurie #FatherStephenDeYoung #FatherPeterGillquist #ViktorEFrankl #JosephODay #JOswaldSanders #PastorTimothyKeller #LifeApplicationStudyBible #FoundationStudyBible #StIrenaeus #OrthodoxStudyBible #FatherStephenFreeman #FatherEusebiusStephanou #FrDavidEnyon #SacramentalLivingMinistries #FrAndrewStephenDamick #FrJeremyDavis #DrEugeniaScarvelisConstantinou #FrBasil #FrTedBobosh


Quote of the Day

News