As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Diocese of Lansing, and the Year of Faith and Year of Prayer, Sister Ann will be writing about the rich tradition of various Catholic devotions throughout the year. This month, she explores the Morning Offering.
(For a prayer card containing various Catholic devotions, including a guide to saying the rosary, please visit www.faithmag.com)
Jesus, through the Immaculate heart of Mary, I offer you all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day, for all the intentions of your Sacred heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends and, in particular, for the intentions of the Holy Father.
This prayer has commonly been known as the Morning Offering – a prayer to be said at the beginning of the day. It’s a prayer which offers everything of each day – all your thoughts, words and actions–as an act of worship to God. This prayer, in effect, tells the Lord, that all you think, say and do this day, you want to be united with the Lord and contribute to the salvation of others. Secondly, it unites you, by the intention of your will, with all the Masses being offered throughout the world. All your needs and all those for whom you have promised to pray will be united with the Mass that is being offered in some part of the world 24/7.
Sometimes I like to think of this prayer as providing a framework around the portrait of my day and I pray that my whole day, whether I am ironing, teaching, vacuuming, running a business, taking out the garbage, being a teller at a local bank, relaxing with friends, playing with my children, caring for the sick in my family, whatever – that all my thoughts, words, actions can now become like a sweet incense of praise and gratitude before the throne of God.
Sometimes we erroneously think that what we offer to God has to be in the form of a prayer, or participation in some religious event directly. But, because I am baptized, my every thought and word and action, can, if offered to God, become a form of praise and thanksgiving–a gift that honors him because we are, in part, fulfilling the purpose for which we were created.
I love to pray for all the intentions of his Sacred Heart. I like to think as often as I can about what might be the most important priorities in the heart of God, so to speak. I know generally that the deepest desire of his heart is that we continue to be converted more toward his will, his plan for our salvation. He wants us to live in union with him forever–thank of it, in union with the source of all beauty and truth and goodness, all love. That’s what God wants, and I think about this when I offer my day for all the intentions of his Sacred Heart. Because God is God, his heart is always turned toward the poor, the orphan, the widow; his gaze is always on the victims of war and disaster; he always looks upon even the most notorious sinner and longs for him or her to turn away from evil, toward him. So when I offer my day for all the intentions of his Sacred Heart, these are some of the intentions I know must be in his heart and by this offering, are now my intentions as well. How God rejoices to see us united with him in prayer! (See Hebrews 7:25 and Hebrews 4:14-16)
When we make the Morning Offering, this is a good time to ask the Lord to protect each of us from sin and from evil desires. Tell the Lord you want your mind and body to please him and to give you strength, as you offer this day, to consecrate your life to him–for the next 24 hours! Sometimes it’s prudent, especially if we have a habit of sin in one area, to take it a day at a time. A day is possible, and then two and then…(Lo, the pattern gets broken) by his grace.
Put your family intentions, your worries and concerns into his hands. Especially when we are dealing with difficult problems, they can consume us and our prayer time. So – offer those intentions to the Lord once a day in the Morning Offering – as you pray the prayer at this point you may want to name the specific concerns you have or you may want to just pray the words of the prayer itself and let it go at that. But offer them all to the Lord; don’t hold on to them in your mind. That only produces fear, anxiety or anger or frustration. Put them in the Lord’s hands–they are in a safe place.
Finally, the Intentions of the Holy Father. I have listed those intentions for the next six months. They can also be found on the USCCB web site: usccb.org Joining your prayer with that of the Church through the Holy Father’s intentions truly makes your prayer personal and universal at the same time.
The Morning Offering is brief but packed. Reciting this prayer every morning will begin to change your perspective and widen your heart. Let’s do it together.
Sister Ann Shields