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Danielle Heckenkamp contemplates the eternal significance of those little, repeated acts of charity that make up a day in the life of every mom.

The human soul has a great capacity to love, but without growing in the virtue of charity and suffocating one’s vices, a person will only remain in a constant state of turbulence. Good intentions are oftentimes thwarted by the slothfulness of bodily desires, leaving one disenchanted and discouraged. In a world where turmoil and hate appear rampant, how does a soul seek beyond their fallen nature due to Original Sin? It will be a constant struggle until our last breath, but virtue is attainable along this path towards heaven through acts of charity and sacrificial love for others.  

The term "sacrificial love" commonly transfers between theologians, spiritual directors, and even secular academia, but what does the phrase mean in terms of God? We can immediately delve into a meditation on the ultimate form of self-sacrifice: Christ’s life, Passion, death, and Resurrection. It was an act of love beyond anything seen or even imagined by the world until that time. And it is quite apparent that Christ, laying down His life as the Creator, was the ultimate model of sacrificial love. 




But how do we imitate Christ’s act of sacrificial love as fallen creatures still tempted by the effects of Original Sin? Sometimes we overcomplicate this answer, for it is in the little things that we can remain faithful and surrender our own lives. For some souls, acts of charity are performed within a small sphere or community, while other people are given opportunities to offer their daily lives for larger purposes, like St. Catherine of Siena or St. Thomas More. What is the common denominator between large and small sacrifices? It is the acknowledgement that everything is an opportunity given by God to further His glory and to seek His will. 

We are not all given the circumstances, the personalities, or the extraordinary graces to be alike to Catherine of Siena or Thomas More, but we have been given the opportunity to seek God through sacrificial love within the confines of our own lives. We have ample prospects to grow in sanctity within the occasions God places before us each day.

It is the little acts we do daily that provide a greater opportunity for renunciation. There is nothing quite like the smile of a friendly face, repetitive household chores, family obligations, or the gift of time with friends that initiates a step towards virtue. It is through charity and manners that each soul may grow in virtue and combat this earthly battle to offer sacrificial love.  

There’s a contemporary misconception that manners and etiquette are directives of the past and have no place in our modernized world. This cry is far from the truth, because through common etiquette, we have opportunities to grow in meekness and humility by seeking the best in others: this is the beautiful virtue of charity. A world without manners and etiquette is a world without sacrificial love and will only advance towards selfishness and pride. This is not the message of Christ—for the greatest commandments focus on love of God and love of neighbor. It is vital that we value the beautiful traditions of manners that uplift humanity toward beauty, truth, and goodness.




As women, we have a beautiful ability to love and have been given heavenly gifts of servitude and nurturing. These traits are woven into the inner disposition of the feminine heart. By cultivating these gifts, women have the opportunity for virtuous growth towards sanctity and there’s no better way to seek God than through sacrificial love dignified by these favors. Though it is not easy to battle the effects of Original Sin and continue this weary earthly path, there is light at the end. It is a light of goodness motivated through charity and humility that will ennoble the human soul toward perfection.   

To bring the world back to Christ, we must each face our own personal battles against vice by offering ourselves through acts of sacrificial love. We are not on this road alone for we are walking with Christ and can find companionship among the Communion of Saints. To combat evil, we must love and offer beauty, without reserve, for the greater glory of God. And as He laid down His life for our souls, so too should we find repose in giving of ourselves until the bonds of pride and selfishness are loosened—thereafter growing in the virtue of charity, a sacrificial love. 


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Copyright 2024 Danielle Heckenkamp
Images: Canva