Friday of the Fifth Week of Easter
Today’s Gospel message means so much to me that I even had it on my solemn profession souvenir card. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” Of course, the one person who I can think of is St. Maximilian Kolbe but also so many others. For example, Fr. Thomas Byles, whom I mentioned on Wednesday, or family members who have come and gone, or even family and friends still on this side of the veil who daily lay down their lives for others.
I am always reminded of my grandparents Bill and Peggy Burkhart, who had a baby girl die at nine months old, realizing they had to lay down their lives for this girl and to accept God’s will that He had to take my dear aunt Mary Joel back to the Kingdom. Or my other grandparents Vince and Bernice Migliazzo, who had three miscarriages before adopting my mom and laying down their lives in accepting God’s will for them, the Lord rewarded them with five more children. I also think of my own parents, laying down their lives for all of us kids, at one time raising a five-year-old son, a four-year-old daughter who is high functioning autistic, and two-year-old twin sons. That came with great sacrifice, but God sees not only the sacrifice but also the glory that comes with it! As an example, God the Father gave us His son to die on the cross for us so that we might have life with Him.
Look for ways to make a small sacrifice that says, “Lord I love you so much. Even though this is small in others’ eyes, I want to lay down my life and offer this as a little sacrifice for your kingdom.” As St. Mother Teresa said, “do small things with great love.”
Reflection by Br. Maximilian Burkhart, OSB