During my time in RCIA, I started reading as much as I could about the Catholic faith and practice. Two of the best books I read were Matthew Kelly’s Rediscover Catholicism and The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Though I was in the process of discovering Catholicism (not rediscovering) through the formal RCIA process, I was impressed by many of the book’s claims about the important value of Catholicism in modern culture. Yet, the topic that stood out to me the most (and was touched on only very briefly), was the act of “offering it up.” Honestly, I can’t remember which book in which I encountered the idea of offering something for someone else. Yet, months later, I still remember it.
In a nutshell, Kelly claims that anything can be a prayer. He states that even if your job is but to collect garbage, you can “offer” that hour of work as a prayer for someone in need. In one way, these little acts of selflessness help us fulfill St. Paul’s instructions. After reading that particular section in Kelly’s book, I was floored. Never once in recent memory had I thought about my daily actions as a prayer to God.
For me, to pray without ceasing meant to pray in a traditional way, eyes closed and hand folded, at all times. For a prayer to “count,” you had to list all of your needs, wants, and thanks to God. It was my job to inform God of every little jot and tittle in my life. It’s no wonder I was usually exhausted trying to pray non-stop. Prayer had become a chore rather than a privilege.
Now, as I’ve matured in faith and age: prayer has taken on a new meaning. Now that I know I can “offer” up anything to the Lord as a prayer, the possibilities seem endless. For example, I may say the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and offer it for those who are hurting or discouraged. One night I may say it for a very specific intention. On other days, I may offer up my daily work for a group of people or a cause. I may attend an hour of
adoration for the intentions of a religious sister. And while I may not know the needs and specific intentions for those I am praying for, I know that God know. What a comfort!
Your little offerings may look different from mine, and that’s okay. Perhaps you like to recite the Morning Offering before you get out of bed, or maybe you set aside a few minutes of Bible study for someone’s needs. There is nothing too small that Our Lord won’t notice. St. Martin de Porres said that scraping vegetables, tending a garden, and cleaning a room can be a prayer as long as it’s offered to God. Simply, no act is too little.
This week, I challenge you think of an action, activity, or amount of time that you can offer up to the Lord. Think about who you can offer it for (or maybe for yourself!), and begin to pray without ceasing.
Pure love…knows that only one thing is needed to please God; to do even the smallest things out of great love – love, and always love. // St. Faustina
I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for the intentions of the Sacred Heart…[and] for the intentions of all my relatives and friends. // from the Morning Offering