"What is Sacrifice?"

By Paul Dion, STL

We Catholics are big into sacrifices. We use the word a lot, and rightly so. Well, this is Thanksgiving, the opening of the Holiday Season. It is the Magnificent American Harvest Festival.

We at have chosen this time to present the concept of sacrifice to you because it is fitting and challenging.

The question therefore is, "What is sacrifice? Why consider it now? What does this have to do with us Catholics?"

Go for it, brethren!


  1. Anonymous8:23 AM

    I believe that sacrifice of giving of yourself to others before your own needs. Sacrifice can feel good since you help someone else and set your own needs and wants aside to do so. Sacrifice can also be an offering, to others through God, giving of yourself. God has done it for mankind since the beginning, he asks little of us, yet many choose not to give of theirselves when a brother or sister is in need, sometimes from fear, sometimes from selfishness, sometimes out of pure lack of compassion. I always feel good when i sacrifice and I offer it to God for my many sins and faults, and hope that God will in turn continue his sacrifice for my soul.

  2. Anonymous11:03 AM

    Sacrifice to me as a Catholic, is to do without something that I want in order to practice self control and in the end to subdue the tendancies of my human body to succumb to the animal instincts in me. It is to offer up my sufferings whatever they may be at the moment, to God in union with Jesus His Son, who gave up his own life so that I might have everlasting life. At this Thanksgiving and Christmas time of year, we see the plenty of this nation and the waste and it is fitting that we do without somethings, in order that we can 'give' to others in dire need of basic human needs. Like food, water, clothing and shelter. I have been trying for years to cut down on all the fluff of the holidays and my goal is one day to give to my family a card that says in effect, "Your gift is being wisely used to feed the poor, clothe the naked, visit the sick and prisoners, water to the thirsty and to be a real follower of Christ". My godmother did that when her children were teens and I remember how everyone thought she was crazy. But,I sincerely believe that she is in Heaven enjoying the love of God the Father and a well deserved rest. She died alone because of mental challenges, but her heart was with God and I had another great role model in my life.
    It is to put aside my petty whinings, selfishness, and ego and to really follow the example of Jesus, who embraced all peoples, the outcasts and lonely and showed them they were of value and that God loved them unconditionally. L

  3. Craig8:58 AM

    Instead of commenting on what a sacrifice is, I want to explain my understanding of sacrificial living. Sacrificial living is a way of life and is the antidote to selfishness. Jesus models it...we strive to live it. It is most effective and most fully revealed when one is a person of prayer, when he regularly receives the Sacraments and strives after the perfection Jesus calls us to (be perfect as my Heavenly Father is perfect). It's fruits are enduring joy and a burning charity. It is a necessity for all Christians and people of good will. It can be terribly difficult but the rewards are out of this world.

  4. Stephen9:02 AM

    I think sacrifice is giving of ourselves unconditionally and without thought for ourselves, whether that's of our time, or financially.

    However, even Priests don't take a vow of poverty and we all have commitments that demand our money and our time, e.g. a mortgage, bills, and our families. Therefore, within ourselves we must decide whether we are doing enough, and challenge ourselves to do that bit more, whether helping more in our parish, or giving more to charitable organisations.

  5. Elizabeth7:45 AM

    I believe sacrifice is giving from our own need-- just like the widow in the story. It's saying yes to help someone when we need a 10 minute break. It's contributing our special talent to an important activity, committee, initiative or project when we told ourselves we had no more time to give. It's making the extra effort to not only contribute, but also to help mentor others to help them make their special contribution. It's about not couting the cost of doing something to be Gods hands and feet on earth.

  6. Stephen9:45 AM

    Hi Elizabeth - well said - the widow in the story gave all that she had without thought for herself, as opposed to giving from what was left over.