“A sacrifice to be real must cost, must hurt, and must empty ourselves,” Mother Theresa taught. My view is different. I agree with Mother Theresa that through sacrifice, and with the help of God (we might use a different name — Odin, Buddha, the Tao, etc.), the individual will be able to “accomplish great things.” But is pain an essential aspect of, or even helpful to, making the act sacred or spiritual? I don’t believe it is.
We hear a more neutral take on sacrifice from Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad, who, in regard to the Islamic injunction against eating pork says that, “it’s a partial fast… We fast from some kinds of food throughout our lives [as a religious act of resisting some temptations].” He points out, in essence, that to refrain from enjoying certain things is a spiritual act. Continue reading “The Spirituality of Sacrifice”