Tuesday, October 11, 2005

"Offer It Up." What the Heck Does That Mean?

Jennifer asks what the phrase, "offer it up" means (mentioned in this post). I can understand her question entirely because it certainly mystified me when I first heard it my mother-in-law say it many years ago. She was counseling one of our daughters to "offer up" her annoyance at something. I think that her explanation is the simplest, and therefore possibly the best, that I have ever heard.

It means to offer your suffering to God as a sacrifice.

You can do this with a specific intention. This can be done with small things annoyances (as I did with that woman behind me in line last night in the long, long pharmacy line who was talking so loudly on her cell phone that I couldn't hear the pharmacist when I finally had my turn with him) as well as large (my last root canal!). I often am reminded on a fast day that the hunger I am feeling is perhaps the same hunger that my parents' souls feel without any belief in God, so I will offer my hunger to God as a sacrifice for their conversion. You also can offer it up without any intention at all and give it to God to use as He will. Not only does this put our suffering to good use but, from my own point of view, it certainly gives one a better perspective on putting up with that particular suffering or annoyance.

As the excerpt in the previous post mentions, the point of this is not to be a "victim" but to make a joyful offering.

This post, Holy Mass and Personal Self Sacrifice, also sheds some light on the idea of offering suffering to God.

5 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this.
    Now I too know what it means
    and will put it to good use.

    Julie Lackey

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  2. That comment, "offer it up," always bothered me growing up when my mother would say that. If I had pain of any kind, she would say that. It seemed to be the "fix all." I always thought that Jesus did all the suffering so that we could have joy in Him. How would this ever benefit our relationship with the Lord? I felt it only made me feel worse, so I would never think to say that to anyone else who was in pain. As if they needed to pay or repent for something, or that the pain was deserved or self inflicted. Unless you have another reason for saying this, it seems like an easy way of getting out of consoling another sister or brother in Christ.

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    1. I understand your opinion of it, but when I read what you wrote it makes me feel that you simply took this opportunity to complain about the concept without trying to understand (or possibly really reading) what I wrote about it overall.

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  3. I may be overthinking this - but are there specific prayers or something you say to do this? How is this done and how do we unite ourselves to God? Sorry for the stupid questions

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    1. Hi Andi! There aren't specific prayers or actions for this. Just a quick internal prayer to God and the sincere intention are enough. God does the rest!

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