When I was young, this was something that I heard often. It made sense, kinda, in an intellectual way, and was a fulfilling spiritual exercise.
Ok, to be honest, no it didn’t. So now I’m 36 and I’m finally going to explore this concept.
First off, I love you Mom, but telling me to offer it up when I legitimately was in pain didn’t make me want to do it. Actually, it made me angry. So, I am humbled when my friend, my hero, Michael, is offering his pain and discomforts up for me! He’s able to get the concept at 9, and I still don’t understand it!
I guess I will start with the bit, I understand how it works and why we do it. I’ve read Salvifici Doloris, and you should too. When I was young I didn’t necessarily understand why, but it made sense. So, now, I am reading about Saints who underwent pain and offered it up, and I might have a little bit to offer up too so I want to imitate them!
yup, I know why. “In my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church”(1), as St Paul said (Jess), I can ease the suffering of others, those in purgatory, etc. Ok. HOW?
I wrote my friends over at Catholic Stuff you should Know, and the Lanky Guys, and Fr Noah and Fr Tim, and I asked how. Think about this, we say offer it up but we don’t explain how. Will a kid understand that? Heck no. How do you offer it up, can you tell anyone it hurts, and if not, how did people know that saints were in pain, can you take anything to lessen the pain, does that cheapen the sacrifice, etc. A lot of good, practical questions! So what is the right answer?
To be honest yet again, I don’t know. Catholic Stuff gave me a great answer, and it is a place to start, but I hope that they expound on it in a podcast. I need the faith of a child. Here’s what they said ;
“The only how is to say so. To choose various moments and then give that moment of trial to someone you think of. When the Church speaks of “morality,” it means just that, the “moral” powers are the intellect and will. If you raise your mind and heart in any moment, that moment can be offered to someone.”
Deep and simple, and… It still doesn’t answer if I can take advil for debilitating pain or not!
Ok, so I’ve shared, and hopefully started down the right path, but I will need prayer to follow this Way . It’s funny, because I have so much to comment on the state of things that the one thing constant from the church of Christ is the cross. Maybe the garden too.
(1) Col. 1, 24.