Brothers and sisters:
If there is any encouragement in Christ, any solace in love, any participation in the Spirit, any compassion and mercy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, with the same love, united in heart, thinking one thing. Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but also everyone for those of others. (Philippians 2:1-4)
A man risks his life to save his child who has fallen into a well. A firefighter goes back into a burning building to rescue an elderly couple. A seasoned teacher takes a pay cut to work with at-risk children in a struggling school.
Stories of self-giving warm our hearts. We love to read about people heroically putting themselves aside to help someone else. But why do these stories touch us so deeply?
Part of the answer is that this kind of self-giving love is encoded into our DNA. We identify with heroic selflessness because deep down, we all yearn to be the same way. It’s how we would like to be known.
As with just about everything else, we can trace these desires back to the way God made us. Created in his image and likeness, we were fashioned with a drive toward the same self-giving, self-sacrificial love that is at the heart of the Trinity. Whether we recognize it or not, we all want to be like Jesus, who considered us “as more important” than himself when he took on human flesh to save us (Philippians 2:3). Deep down, our hearts urge us to be like the One whose love moved him to empty himself and take on “the form of a slave” so that our sins could be wiped away (2:7).
For example, think about how proud you feel when your children or grandchildren offer to help someone unload their groceries or hold a door open for someone else. Think of how gratifying it feels after you have spent some time volunteering in your parish or after you have put aside your comfort to care for a sick child or an aging relative. Something inside tells you that this is how things are supposed to be. That’s because you recognize in these actions a reflection of God’s own character. Not only do you feel better, but you also bring great joy to your heavenly Father!
Who would have thought that the key to happiness is sacrifice? May we all become more fully the Christlike people God has made us to be!
“Father, you have made me like you, even to the point of wanting to give of myself in love for other people. Help me complete your joy by reflecting your love!”
Word Among Us