What is the most glorious act you could accomplish in life? This question may be answered in many and varied ways, but there is only one good answer. We are called to become a “Living Sacrifice of Love.” The path to that goal centers on the virtues of humility, trust and mercy.
Living a life of ongoing sacrificial love requires you to become a beacon of mercy in this world. Unfortunately, we live in a world that is in many ways void of mercy. It is a world in which harshness and judgment are the norm. However, one of the primary reasons so many people lack mercy in our day and age is because they lack humility and trust.
We also live in a world filled with suffering. But sadly, suffering is rarely understood as an opportunity to achieve the highest level of holiness. Suffering is rarely transformed into sacrificial living. Instead, it is often experienced only as a burden to be avoided.
The goal of this book is to offer you an invitation to look more deeply at the path to holiness and to discover the way in which you can travel it in your own life. This invitation is not simply given to help you grasp the theology of holiness; rather, it is an invitation to live it.
Holiness requires a very radical choice. You cannot become holy by being mediocre in your faith. It is not possible to be humble, trusting and merciful unless you are willing to change your life completely. That may seem frightening at first. Nevertheless, making the “frightening” choice to embark on the path to radical holiness is not only for the great saints, it is a choice that the sinner must also make.
The path to holiness begins by embracing and living the virtues of humility, trust and mercy. From there, the humble, trusting and merciful soul is capable of living sacrificially in that it is capable of uniting all suffering to the Cross of Christ to share in the good fruits of that sacrifice. This book will begin by exploring these following three virtues as the solid foundation for holy and sacrificial living:
1) Humility: the virtue opposite to pride that enables you to turn your eyes from yourself to the Lord and upon others. It enables you to become detached from selfish ambition and attached to selfless giving. Humility opens the door to trust in your life because it enables you to turn to the source of all mercy with abandon and confidence.
2) Trust: the virtue that is greatly helped by a humble heart, in that the humble heart does not presume to rely upon itself for strength and mercy. God is the source of everything that is good in life. Therefore, turning to Him with total abandon is the only way to obtain mercy. Simply put, “trust” means one relies upon God for all things rather than oneself.
3) Mercy: the result of humbly putting all one’s trust in God. Mercy first includes its reception from the Heart of Christ and then its distribution to others. What a grace this is!
It is much easier to understand the beauty of humility and trust than it is to actually humble yourself and put your complete trust in God. It is much easier to speak about mercy than it is to embrace and live it. In fact, entering into these glorious virtues will be quite painful as the Lord strips away pride, selfishness, fear, doubt and many other vices.
Once you are on the path to holiness and are seeking to live the virtues of humility, trust and mercy, do not be surprised if you are also invited to embrace a life of great suffering in a sacrificial way. Think of Jesus. He was perfect, yet the culmination of His ministry was death on a cross. We are called to this same embrace of the Cross of Christ.
We ultimately become a “Living Sacrifice of Love” when every experience we encounter in life, be they joys or sorrows, are encountered with unwavering virtue as we live fully united to the Cross of Christ. Obtaining this high ideal requires a wholehearted commitment to become more fully transformed into the persons God wants us to be.
Read this book slowly and take it one step at a time. Stay with it, pondering the messages that are shared, looking into your own heart with honesty, and striving to change as you do so. Take small steps and you will find yourself on the path to holiness and a life of radical transformation in Christ.
The abundant mercy of God awaits you! Receiving His mercy and becoming an instrument of mercy for others is the most glorious and satisfying experience you can have in life. Commit yourself to the demanding path of holiness and you will be grateful you did for all eternity.
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