Living Sacrifice

                   Living Sacrifice

(Romans 12:1-15)

St. Paul requests his readers to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God…” (verse 1). Many of us have been taught and have come to believe that our lives are for the Lord – so St. Paul’s supplication may not come to us as a surprise. Our Lord is a merciful God, one whose mercy the human mind cannot fully comprehend. King David speaks of the Lord’s mercy many times in the book of Psalms, once writing “the Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy” (Psalm 103:8). In response to God’s mercy, St. Paul urges his readers to offer our living and dynamic selves as a sacrifice, in contrast to dead sacrifices that were offered in the past. He continues to write “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (verse 2).

It might be edifying for us to become increasingly aware (in particular during this Lenten season) of how we have presented our bodies as a sacrifice to the world. And how we have conformed to this world. How often do we decide what to say, what to eat, what to wear, who to interact with, how to speak, where to spend our time, what we allow our eyes to see, mind to think, lips to say, based on how the world says we should? How often are we intentionally giving our lives, in its entirety, for God? We offer ourselves as a “living sacrifice” to God when our relationship with Him becomes the lens in which we see the world affecting how we navigate within it.

St. Paul continues this theme of being a “living sacrifice” by reminding his readers to remain humble and “not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think” (verse 3). He reminds us that we are all called to live for the Lord using our spiritual gifts, which is unique to each of His creation. Each of our gifts and callings, if used and followed properly, will lead us to be transformed into the image and likeness the Lord intended on us being. St. Paul provides us with an image of what our works will appear to be as we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice:

“Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (verses 9-15)

May we learn during this Great and Holy Fast to present ourselves as a living sacrifice each moment we are gifted with.

Questions for Meditation

1) Identify resources that have helped you live for the Lord. In what ways can you utilize these resources during the remainder of the Lenten season to strengthen your relationship with Christ?

2) Be mindful of your thoughts for a portion of your day. What do you notice about how you are spending your thoughts? In what ways are they pleasing to the world? In what ways are they pleasing to the Lord?