Have you ever tried praying a daily offering? A few weeks ago, Samantha suggested adding these prayers to your Lenten practice. The Morning Offering, which seems to have originated in the 19th century, is both an easy and profound way to place God at the forefront of your mind when starting your day.
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.
Although there are several slightly different versions of this prayer online, there is one key phrase that seems to be present in most of them. It’s a phrase that stuck out to me personally when I first encountered the prayer a few years ago, and thinking about it deeply helped me to memorize the whole prayer quickly:
I offer You all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day.
First, “I offer You all.” Saying this prayer first thing in the morning — whether you are facing an exciting day or dreading a difficult one — can consecrate everything that happens to God. When we offer it all to our Father, the events of our day become prayers and acts of goodwill that can benefit our souls and the souls of others. Starting your day this way can not only help you get out of bed or bravely walk into work, it can also help you to live the Jesuit motto ad majorem dei gloriam with each footstep: for the greater glory of God.
Second, “prayer and work.” Translated back into Latin, this is actually the phrase ora et labora, often attributed to the Rule of St. Benedict. Prayer and work are the two cornerstones of monastic life, but they can also serve as a framework for the laity living in the world. Indeed, the letter of James challenges us, “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14, 17). Most of the actions we complete in a day fall into either the “prayer” category or the “work” category. In fact, I would guess that at the end of the day, most people have spent more time working than praying. What if we could find a way to make our work more prayerful, to turn it into a sign of love for our Father? This one simple morning prayer can help.
Finally, “joy and suffering.” This phrase strikes me because it is another pairing of seemingly opposite concepts. Yet, what ordinary day does not contain at least some joy (that first sip of coffee!) and some suffering (the sound of the alarm clock!)? God wants to be with us in both the highs and the lows of our day. The practice of saying this prayer each morning can help us to remember to invite God in and acknowledge His presence both when we are joyful and when we are suffering. Intentionally offering both joys and sufferings to God at the beginning of the day can be a good start on our path to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessolonians 5:17).
As we continue to journey through Lent, if you are struggling to find a way to integrate more prayer into your day, I would highly recommend this prayer. It is adaptable, easy to memorize, and short enough to say while you are brushing your teeth, getting dressed, or preparing your breakfast. It has certainly transformed the way I approach my day, making me more mindful of God’s presence and the potential for each moment of prayer, work, joy, and suffering to glorify Him.