Skip to main content

Offer it up!

40. I would like to add here another brief comment with some relevance for everyday living. There used to be a form of devotion—perhaps less practised today but quite widespread not long ago—that included the idea of “offering up” the minor daily hardships that continually strike at us like irritating “jabs”, thereby giving them a meaning. Of course, there were some exaggerations and perhaps unhealthy applications of this devotion, but we need to ask ourselves whether there may not after all have been something essential and helpful contained within it. What does it mean to offer something up? Those who did so were convinced that they could insert these little annoyances into Christ's great “com-passion” so that they somehow became part of the treasury of compassion so greatly needed by the human race. In this way, even the small inconveniences of daily life could acquire meaning and contribute to the economy of good and of human love. Maybe we should consider whether it might be judicious to revive this practice ourselves.--Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi

I’ve been meaning to post on this since last weekend when I had my first, uninterrupted reading of the complete text of Spe Salvi. I have long heard and used the term “offer it up”. It is sort of Catholic-speak for “Suck it up!” But truly this is so much more than admonishment to quit whining. This is an invitation to actively and personally participate in the salvation of souls. Christ took on the sin and suffering of all of mankind in every age in order to redeem us and allow us to spend eternity with God in Heaven. He invites us to take up our own crosses and follow him. Some of our crosses are quite large: serious illnesses, tragedies, disasters. Some of our crosses are miniscule in comparison: an unkind word, a traffic jam, a delayed airplane, a computer glitch. Yet we can join both our sufferings and our annoyances with Christ’s sacrifice. Rather than lamenting our trials we can “offer them up”. They become an asset to Salvation History rather than a stumbling block to holiness.

The hard part for me is to graciously accept the trials in silence. I want everyone to know that idiot in the blue BMW cut me off on the Beltway. I want everyone to know the injustice I suffered while waiting in line at the post office. Now part of being a writer and being a blogger in particular is sharing life’s difficulties and dilemmas. I hope that when I criticize it is because I am seeking to educate and foster an improvement. If nothing good will come of my complaint, it is time to stay quiet and “offer it up”.


Anonymous said…
Working on this one!

Popular posts from this blog

Parent Letter from a Catechist

I am going to be teaching seventh grade CCD this year. We do most of the preparation for confirmation during this year since Confirmation is usually scheduled for the fall of the eighth grade year.I have composed a letter to the parents to try and keep them active in their children's religious education. I thought I would post it here and get your feedback before I send it out in a couple of weeks.

I am privileged to be your child’s seventh grade CCD teacher for the 2006-2007 school year. This is a very important year. We will focus on your child’s preparation for confirmation. Of course, you have already been preparing your child for this sacrament for many years. You are the primary catechist for your child. You show how important your Faith is by making Mass attendance a top priority and by family prayer.

Confirmation is one of the Sacraments of Initiation. It is a beginning. It is not a graduation. This year we will work to solidify the foundation of your child’s Catholic Faith.…

Dispelling the Myth of the Travel Dispensation

One of the fun things about having a site meter on my blog is I can see which posts garner the most attention. I can also see how people find my blog. One of the most read posts from my two years of blogging is this one that discusses finding Mass while traveling. I would like to think this post is so popular because it is so well written. The truth of the matter is that it generates so much traffic because I use the words “travel dispensation for Mass”—as in “There is no such thing as a travel dispensation for Mass.” I would guess that nearly a dozen times every week, someone googles “travel dispensation for Mass” and finds my blog. I wonder how many of these folks are poor souls trying to assuage their Catholic guilt with evidence of a justification for missing Mass while on the road.

I know that when I tell my seventh grade CCD students that attending Mass every Sunday is a commandment (one of the top ten!) and not just a pretty good idea they are amazed. Missing Mass has become so …

United Breaks Guitars

This guy is really talented and what a creative way to get your message across. I think he captured the "indifferent employee" perfectly. They don't just work for airlines. I think I ran into them at Walmart on Friday!