Love and sacrifice
Jesus taught that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. He proved this point by laying down his own life for every human being who ever lived.
The cross shows that true love is selfless; it seeks the good of the other first. Paul explained Christ’s teaching: “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests” (1 Cor 13:4-5).
Blessed Mother Teresa went further: “Love, to be real, it must cost — it must hurt — it must empty us of self.”
In our day, there is no greater example of selfless and sacrificial love than in the men and women who protect our liberty here in the United States and throughout the Western world. Millions have freely given their lives to secure our independence from tyranny — and 1.3 million Americans currently serve in the armed forces.
In this issue, we salute four men who served us in the U.S. Army. (Click here for a related link.) While their experiences differ, their passion for service and the Catholic faith is a powerful witness. Two went on to become generals, one was wounded in battle, and the other helped clear minefields in war zones.
While most of us will never have the opportunity to serve in the armed forces, we are nonetheless called to a sacrificial love. And sacrificial love starts at home. Men are called to lay down their lives in service to their wives and children. Women are called to the same. Cardinal Raymond Burke said in a recent interview that “there is no greater force against evil in the world than the love of a man and woman in marriage.”
We live in an upside-down world where certain evils are considered good and many good things — like traditional marriage and large, faithful Catholic families — are considered offensive. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote that “the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths” (2 Tim 4:3-4).
This is our world, and if we hope to turn the tide of the Culture of Death we must love in a pure and countercultural way. The early Church overcame massive persecution and changed the world forever by being a living witness to the sacrificial love of Our Lord. We can do the same if we abandon ourselves to Jesus Christ. There is no other way.
PATRICK NOVECOSKY is Legatus magazine’s editor-in-chief.