Thinking on the sacrifices of saints to care for the diseased to the point of getting themselves killed, there is no doubt an element of love here and a need to express God’s love but at the same time there is a denial of being itself to express that love. How could the sacrifice be praiseworthy when it is a lack of care for one part of creation to express love for another part of creation? There seem to be acceptable and rejectable things here.
I think it is because self-sacrifice is the ultimate gift. If a guy gives his life for someone he is not saying that his life is not important, but instead saying that he is willing to give this greatest gift he can offer for someone else in need. So when giving that ultimate gift, a saint is basically showing the greatest possible faith because he/she is showing that he/she believes there is a greater purpose that can be served. I hope that makes sense.
What more could be said??
So much sacrifice only makes sense in the context of eternal life. **1 Corinthians Chapter 15:19. St. Paul: “If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.” **
It has only occurred this way as a punishment for sin. Initially, God asked us to have dominion over every thing. Genesis 1:28-29. God asked us: “God created mankind in his image; in the image of God he created them; male and female* he created them. God blessed them and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it.* Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth.”
Reparative therapy (Nicolosi) emphasizes self-assertion as necessary for health, which is how it was in the beginning. Catholic theologians, such as Baars, Terruwe, and Fr. Dyunstee, also newly emphasized the importance of emotional love and were honored by the Popes for this. However, we have a past history of neglecting the importance of self-assertion and are thus overwhelmed with scandals in the church. For example: “On September 20, 1977, Pope Paul VI appointed Weakland Archbishop of Milwaukee. He was consecrated bishop on November 8, in the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist by Archbishop Jean Jadot. Weakland stepped down soon after Paul Marcoux, a former Marquette University theology student, revealed in May 2002 that he was paid $450,000 to settle a sexual assault claim he made against the archbishop more than two decades earlier. The money came from the archdiocese.” (Wikipedia) Excerpt from Weakland’s autobiography: “The only love valued by the Church was volitional love, the love of the spiritual will prompting to acts of love. Emotional love and affection, simple human cordiality, if not considered evil, were looked upon with suspicion and thought potentially harmful to one’s life in and with Christ. Spiritual books left one with the impression that intercourse with the Lord presupposed a breaking of all the natural ties one can have with men, and that the mortification of human affections was ascetically laudable in the noble pursuit of solitude and withdrawal from one’s fellowmen.”
Yes, we must keep in mind John 13:13, "* No one has greater love than this,j to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. " But we can never forget John 13:14, and we tend to remember the 13th verse and forget the 14th. “*You are my friends if you do what I command you.” *
The majority of the time, Jesus always avoided the Pharisees who tried to kill him: "Matthew 23:33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how can you flee from the judgment of Gehenna?” John 10:39 "[Then] they tried again to arrest him; but he escaped from their power. " When he did die, it was to obey the will of the Father and not because of a personal wish for sacrifice. John 26:39 " He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father,* if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” He showed that he valued his own life as important by rebuking them or running away the majority of the time and only giving his life out of love when it was the Father’s will.
You could ask our brave men and women in the armed forces the same question.
While maybe not apples to apples, they certainly risk death to provide life for others.
Put it in context by considering both the incarnation and then sacrifice of Christ. This reaffirms the belief that the human form is little more than an earthen pot.
The body, whether given in sacrifice, or surviving to old age, will die…but the soul will not; it is imperishable.
Therefore, it would be sinful to put the salvation of our souls, or the souls of others in jeopardy, the greatest virtue is the risking or sacrificing out bodies for others.
A question asked, might be, what good would the destruction of our body be for saving the soul of another…the answer is that the sacrifice gives the recipient the opportunity for longer life which might give time for conversion.
In addition to Christ telling us how laying down our live for another is great, Ezekiel 18:23 explains why.
Peace and all good!