How much of us lives on forever? The Christian meaning of sacrifice and dedication


  • Paul O'Callaghan


Summary : I. Deliberation and permanence. II. Two paths towards immortality. III. Final Resurrection and the quest for an integral immortality. IV. The meaning of Christian sacrifice and dedication. V. A specific example: the meaning of consecrated life.

The article considers the theological and anthropological meaning of Christian sacrifice and mortification. It is commonly held that the sacrifice of a created good by a Christian believer constitutes a denial of its goodness, a rejection of God’s gift. The author attempts to show, on the basis of the doctrine of final resurrection, that whatever we have sacrificed willingly in this life will be restored to us, full, complete and purified, at the end of time. Thus the believer’s personal sacrifice is not life-denying but involves a grateful affirmation of God’s creation, and a way of ensuring that the created world, as it is, is not turned into an idol. The principle is likewise applied to the significance of vows undertaken by consecrated men and women.