Recently I was reminded of the importance of a Morning Offering while reading He Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek. This Jesuit priest was captured by the Russian army during World War II and falsely accused of being a “Vatican spy.” Of the twenty-three years he was in the Soviet Union, he spent five of those years imprisoned in solitary confinement and fifteen years in the slave labor camps of Siberia.
Among the valuable lessons this holy and humble priest learned during some very trying times, one thing in particular that struck me was his mentioning—at various times throughout the book—the importance of the daily Morning Offering. Fr. Ciszek writes that, in his opinion, “the Morning Offering is still one of the best practices of prayer—no matter how old-fashioned some may think it.” He goes on to share the essence of the Morning Offering: “For in it, at the beginning of each day, we accept from God and offer back to him all the prayers, works, and sufferings of the day, and so serve to remind ourselves once again of his providence and his kingdom.” He affirms that we can’t always go around all day “abstracted”, and ignoring our duties. “But,” he says, “We can pray always by making each action and work and suffering of the day a prayer insofar as it has been offered and promised to God.”
Make Yourself at Home
Here at the Order of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts of Jesus and Mary, we begin our day of prayer with a Morning Offering. We also have a specific intention which we pray and offer for each day, in addition to praying and offering daily for the intentions of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Of course, because we offer everything to the Lord at the beginning of the day, by means of our Morning Offering, doesn’t mean that we can’t (or shouldn’t) continue to offer up whatever occurs throughout the day. An analogy might be helpful here. We could think of the Morning Offering like welcoming someone into our house, and inviting them to “make yourself at home.” In a way, that’s what we are doing when we make our Morning Offering. We invite our Lord into our hearts and our lives, and give Him permission to use us and everything having to do with our day for His glory, and however He wishes. However, as with the analogy of inviting someone to make themselves at home, we may still want to offer that person specific things throughout the day, such as asking if they would like a cup of tea, or some cookies, or the like. This might be especially the case if the person does not want to impose themselves in any way, and wants to be respectful. We too, although we’ve made the Morning Offering at the beginning of the day, still strive to offer up to our Lord and our Blessed Mother various things throughout our day—knowing that They are extremely respectful of our free will and desire for us to freely make offerings to Them.
Every Moment’s Dignity
“Every moment of our life has a purpose,” Fr. Ciszek writes, “Every action of ours, no matter how dull or routine or trivial it may seem in itself, has a dignity and a worth beyond human understanding. No man’s life is insignificant in God’s sight, nor are his works insignificant—no matter what the world or his neighbors or family or friends may think of them.” The good father then goes on to point out what a responsibility this implies for each of us. He then offers us a challenge. “Think of your day, today or yesterday. Think of the work you did, the people you met, moment by moment. What did it mean to you—and what might it have meant for God? Is the question too simple to answer, or are we just afraid to ask for fear of the answer we must give?” By making the daily Morning Offering a part of our spiritual routine, we will ensure that all that we do is offered to our Lord—for Him to use as He desires—and that not one moment, or one action, is wasted. He treasures and values all we offer to Him; may we give generously to Him who has given so generously to us!
—By Fr. Francis of the Redeemer, OSIHJM