Jen has a post about seeking God before seeking the snooze button. I was reminded of this post when I saw this.
Since I have to get out of bed and drive my husband to the carpool lot, I can’t really hit the snooze button. But when I return home and the kids are already off to school, it sure is tempting to crawl back between the covers and catch a few more Z’s. Yet if I put the coffee on and keep plugging, my day goes so much better. There is something to St. Josemaria Escriva’s words:
Conquer yourself each day from the very first moment, getting up on the dot, at a set time, without granting a single minute to laziness. If with the help of God, you conquer yourself in the moment, you have accomplished a great deal for the rest of the day. It's so discouraging to find yourself beaten in the first skirmish.
This sentiment is the basis for self-mortification and “offering it up”. We are made very aware of this during Lent when we give up something as part of our spiritual practice. However, self-denial is a useful form of Catholic spirituality all year long. We take on little sufferings and join our discomfort with Christ’s suffering on the Cross.
Sometimes these little “crosses” are incidental. On the day when I am in a hurry, I end up in the slowest line at the gas station. Instead of getting impatient and irritated with the lady in front of me who must try five different credit cards before finding one that will work at the pump, I can accept my inconvenience without complaint and offer this little trial as a prayer of atonement.
Sometimes I can intentionally embrace a little suffering as a sacrificial offering. “Father, please accept my self-denial of a thirty minute nap as a prayer for the souls in Purgatory.”
This is far easier said than done. There is great satisfaction in loudly lamenting every inconvenience, every trial, and every offense. But how much healthier it is for our spiritual life if we silently accept these hardships and offer our labors as an offering to God? Every act, every thought, every word becomes a prayer. We become increasingly able to die to self and live for God.