COR THOUGHTS 271: Losing Our Lives to Save Them


“For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel will save it,” says the Lord in this weekend’s Gospel (Mk 8:35). It’s what Saint John Paul II called the law of the gift: “Man can only find himself through the sincere gift of self.” This teaching of the Second Vatican Council, repeated incessantly by John Paul II, unmasks the deception of a life focused on self. If I seek only to preserve myself – my interests, my comforts, my preferences – I lose everything. But if I learn to sacrifice myself, if I learn how to be a gift to and for others, I not only bless and affirm others, I find myself and “save” my life in the process. It’s a truth stamped right into our bodies as male and female. The sexual difference reveals the vocation to be a gift to and for others. Saint John Paul II called it “the spousal meaning of the body” which is the body’s “power to express love: precisely that love in which the human person becomes a gift and – through this gift – fulfills the very meaning of his being and existence” (TOB 15:1). When we consider sexuality the realm of our own self-interests and self-gratification, we “are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do” and we should resist every such temptation as Christ did: “Get behind me, Satan.”