If you’ve ever read the “Divergent” trilogy (spoiler alert if not!!), you’ll know that Tris—the main character—is a feisty young woman, full of spirited determination. But the thing I admire most about her is that she never compromises on her courage whilst still displaying a softer, gentler side in allowing a man to love and protect her. Reflecting on life without Tris, that man explains:
“There are so many ways to be brave in this world. Sometimes bravery involves laying down your life for something bigger than yourself, or for someone else. Sometimes it involves giving up everything you have ever known, or everyone you have ever loved, for the sake of something greater. But sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it is nothing more than gritting your teeth through pain, and the work of every day, the slow walk toward a better life. That is the sort of bravery I must have now.”
This is the sort of bravery which we, too, must have if we are to obey Christ’s call to love. It takes great courage to die to self in order to bring life to another person—especially in the tiny, seemingly insignificant things. Those are the moments when we can choose humility or self-inflation, selflessness or grasping at desires, peaceful acceptance or passive aggression. Sometimes the discernment of when to fight and when to lay down our weapons—no matter how simple the situation (often the simpler the situation, the more tempted we are to fight!)—is what allows peace, joy and love to flourish.
Love hurts. It’s a timeless fact which has been written about, sung about and wept over throughout the ages—with good reason! True love cannot be separated from pain, because true love is wanting the best for the other person, and therefore not only hurting over the things that cause them pain but also being willing to sacrifice our own desires for their good. It’s no coincidence that the greatest sign of love ever known is also the most painful act of sacrifice imaginable, and that we’re called to live out the same kind of love: “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:12-13. In order to fully embrace a life of chastity for the sake of authentic love, we have to develop a clear picture of what that love is like. That way the sacrifices we may feel we have to make in the name of chastity will be done out of love, in love, and through the nature of love.
“There is no place for selfishness and no place for fear! Do not be afraid when love makes demands. Do not be afraid when love requires sacrifice.” Saint John Paul II
Being in a relationship is a vulnerable place by its nature. Choosing to be vulnerable requires great bravery: a bravery that is most often demonstrated through self-sacrifice. Sometimes that sacrifice is momentous—from risking rejection and laying down your pride to make the first declaration of love, or even refraining from doing so for the good of your brother or sister in Christ, to the money spent on family essentials instead of personal ambitions, to the time and heartache of holding your spouse’s hand as they undergo chemo. But just as often, if not more so, it’s in the little things that you do every single day for the one you love.
But what about those of us who aren’t in a relationship? It can be easy to assume that once we’re faced with sacrifices we’ll be able to make the right decisions, but we can’t expect to suddenly be “good” at making those sacrifices when the time comes if we’re not willing to prepare ourselves in advance. That could mean fasting in some way, or it could mean training your body in order to discipline your mind. After all, as a lifestyle “chastity includes an apprenticeship in self-mastery” (CCC 2339). I firmly believe in the power of the small sacrifices I make now in preparing myself—spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically—for the total gift of self that is marriage.
But more importantly, these sacrifices aren’t just in anticipation of a relationship with another person—they’re for the glory of God, who is Love itself!
Esther Rich has a bachelor degree in Psychology from Oxford University, UK, and is currently completing the Sion Community Youth Foundation Year, working on their youth ministry team. She loves Theology of the Body, Papa Francesco and a good worship band. She is passionate about empowering women to be who they were created to be, and blogs at “For Such A Time As This.”
Sacrifice is one of the purest and most selfless ways to love someone. There is no better way to show one’s loyalty or love for another than through sacrifice. The Kite Runner clearly demonstrates the sacrifices individuals made to make the ones they love happy.
In Khaled Hosseini’s novel The Kite Runner, a little boy named Hassan demonstrates love and sacrifice the most. Hassan admires Amir an immense amount and his loyalty towards Amir is always present in everything he does. He constantly sacrifices things for Amir and does whatever he can to make Amir happy and Amir’s father Baba, very proud of Amir. Hassan makes sure Amir is always pleased and does anything and everything Amir tells him to do. Hassan has an unconditional love and loyalty towards Amir that he does not falter no matter how badly Amir treats him. Hassan is absolutely selfless; to a point where he sacrifices himself for the one thing he knows Amir has craved his whole life, his father’s admiration. When Hassan goes running for the blue kite, Amir asks him to come back with it and Hassan replies “ For you a thousand times over!” (pg.71). Hassan has two choices; to give the blue kite, which will consequently betray his best friend Amir, or to be punished by Assef and his friends and keep the kite. His devoted love to Amir results in a horrible sacrifice. Hassan gets raped and does not even think twice about giving up the blue kite, the key to Baba’s heart. He stays loyal to Amir even though he pays a hard price.
Hassan has always taken the blame for things Amir does or farthings Amir makes Hassan do. Hassan being the selfless person he is never speaks up for himself knowing that will only get his dear friend Amir in trouble. Hassan’s final sacrifice for Amir is deliberately planned by Amir himself. Amir cannot withstand the pain and guilt of knowing that he does nothing to help Hassan from getting raped; he is selfish and a coward. He is reminded of this every time he looks at Hassan. He thinks if he can find a way to make Hassan and his father the servants of their house, Ali will then leave and rid him of his guilt and suffering. So he plants his new watch under Hassan’s bed and then accuses Hassan of stealing it. Knowing that Hassan will never disappoint him. He waits for Hassan to respond when Baba asks him if this is true. “Did you steal that money? Did you steal Amir’s watch, Hassan?” Hassan lies … “yes” (pg.111) this is another significant event where Hassan put Amir before himself selflessly.
Baba Is always perceived as a wise man with strong morals and opinions in “The Kite Runner”. He is not a coward nor selfish, he stands up for what he believes is right and Baba is a very brave man. This is displayed when he sacrifices his life for a woman he does not know. He stands up and says, “Tell him I’ll take a thousand of his bullets before I let this indecency take place”. (Pg. 122) This act stops a Russian soldier from raping a woman that is carrying a baby on their way to America. This shows the love Baba has in his heart to help this woman from a terrible event that would have taken place if he had not stopped it. He has shown love and sacrifice for women he does not know and that shows his good character and bravery.
Although Amir had feels his father never appreciated him enough his father makes a big sacrifice for Amir. With the war-taking place in Afghanistan, Baba knows it will not be a safe place for Amir to grow up and knows he has to do something about it. He leaves everything he has behind. He sacrifices everything he has for Amir, all his belongings, and his house, and where he grew up. He leaves his life behind so Amir can have a happy and safe life in America. He does not like America but he knows it is best for Amir. He puts Amir before himself, demonstrating another one of Baba’s selfless acts.
Throughout the novel, Amir has some very negative personality traits. He is selfish, demanding, cowardly, disrespectful and jealous. He does not seem like the type of person that will do something for another out of the kindness of their heart. He always thinks about himself and what he wants. He has never sacrificed anything for the people he loves. Growing up with the memory of Hassan’s rape still fresh in his mind like a situation that has just unfolded has finally opened his eyes and makes him realize he needs to be brave for once in his life. So Amir acts. He goes back to Afghanistan to find Hassan’s son, Sohrab. Rahim Khan’s advice, “There is a way to be good again” (pg.2) helps Amir to put his feelings into action. Assef, now a Taliban officer, beats Amir up badly, but this, heals Amir of his wrong doings from the past and he takes Sohrab back to America with him to live a good life. Amir finally puts someone before himself after all the sacrifices Hassan has made for him in the past. This shows the love and sacrifice he makes for Hassan’s child knowing it is the only way he can ever repay Hassan for the years of mistreatment in their childhood.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini demonstrates a very good lesson on sacrifice and love. The novel is a perfect example of the ways Jesus shows us how to live our lives. “There is no greater love than to lay ones life down for a friend”.