Hello and welcome to Beyond the Pew! Today we are talking about the phrase “offer it up.” Many of us, when we were kids, heard that phrase when we stubbed our toe or scraped our knee and our parents would say, “Offer it up!” But what does that phrase actually mean? What are we offering? Who are we offering it to and why are we doing this?
The phrase “offer it up” means to take our sufferings that we are enduring right now and uniting it to the suffering that Jesus experienced on the cross. In Colossians 1:24, Paul says our sufferings make up for what is lacking in Christ’s sufferings. Now, is Paul saying that Jesus’ sufferings were not enough? No, not at all. Paul is saying that our sufferings get to be united with Jesus’ sufferings and we participate in redemption.
When Jesus died on the cross, He took pain and suffering and gave it a purpose. He made it redemptive.
When Jesus died on the cross, He took pain and suffering and gave it a purpose. He made it redemptive. So now we no longer have to go through pain, suffering, and heartache without a purpose. We can suffer with a purpose for the benefit of someone else and the benefit of salvation.
Now, we can do this in a simple way with a prayer. We can ask ourselves what our suffering has to do with someone’s salvation. We could say, “How can my suffering have anything to do with helping someone else?” All we have to do is pray, “Lord Jesus, I’m really suffering right now. I’m in pain. I ask that you help me to unite my suffering to what you went through on the cross.” And Jesus will give us that grace and it’s a mystery. He does what He does. He makes our suffering be for our benefit and for the benefit of someone else.
Offer up your sufferings with Jesus’ sufferings to bring about some kind of good. Here are some ideas of how to do this on your own or with your family:
- With your family, get together (especially during the Lenten season) and find an intention to offer your sufferings for.
- Choose something to give up as a family and find a specific intention to offer it up for.
- Maybe you have a close friend or family member who isn’t in the Church anymore. You can offer your suffering for their salvation. Choose a suffering, something you don’t have to do, to offer for them.
- Maybe you have a family member that passed away. You can offer up your sufferings for them in purgatory, for their soul. Or for whatever soul in purgatory that needs the most prayers.
- You can offer up your sufferings for the test of one of your kids or for your spouse’s promotion.
Jesus tells us to carry our cross and follow Him. When we carry our cross and follow Him, we are cooperating with Him and His redemption, His suffering on the cross. We hear also St. Paul say in Romans, that God works all things for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. If we believe that God is going to work all things for good, that means suffering! That means our suffering is actually working for the good.
As John Paul II said, ‘don’t waste your suffering!’
We have to choose it. It’s easier said than done, but choosing to unite our suffering with Jesus’ suffering means not complaining, not wallowing, and not throwing a pity party. It means finding the joy in a situation where it’s hard or if you can’t see a purpose, like if you are going through something truly painful, maybe the death of a loved or the loss of a job or brokenness in your family. Those are real sufferings, but if our sufferings are making up for what is lacking in Christ’s suffering, and if our suffering is that powerful, how much good can God bring out of that!? God’s love and goodness and mercy and grace are infinite. As John Paul II said, “don’t waste your suffering!” If you are suffering, ask God to give you the grace to offer it up, to unite that suffering with Jesus’ cross, and to bring about salvation and redemption in the world.
We will see you next week at Beyond the Pew!