Saturday, June 15, 2024

Some Reflections on "Offering Everything" to God

When we wake up in the morning, it is good to pray a "Morning Offering" in which we remember Jesus and offer everything that awaits us each day in union with the all-embracing sacrifice that His love has accomplished on the Cross for our redemption. There are many versions of this prayer, or we can use our own words. .

We might say something like: "O Heart of Jesus, we offer You all our thoughts, words, and actions, our joys, sorrows, and sufferings of this day. We offer You everything." Through Jesus, we are able to live in an inexhaustible and super-abundant way the "vitality" that is at the foundation of all created things—their relation (and ours) to the Mystery of God.

What is it that we do (or at least desire to do, however forgetful we may be afterward) when we "offer" our day to God? "Offering" involves a fundamental recognition; it entails the affirmation of the reality of things according to that inner secret that constitutes their being and goodness: the fact that they belong-to-Another

Beings in this world attract us, fascinate us, engage the interest of our minds and draw forth love and enthusiasm from our heartsthey give us a "taste" and suggest a "promise" that educates of hope of our lives and gives impetus to our journey along the path of space and time that opens before us.

The realities of this life are promises of the ultimate meaning and fulfillment of the universe, all things, and ourselves. But they cannotwhile we engage them on the roads of this worldgive us the ultimate fulfillment; they point towards a goal and educate us through their reflection of many facets of its promise that we too are are "made for" this goal that draws all things into unity. 

At the same time, the promise of total goodness and unity that shines all through reality and attracts us every day is also mysterious. It transcends everything with a radical originality and the overflowing free gift of a unity and love that "correspond" to the hope for fulfillment that has been awakened within us while also surpassing it in ways beyond our imagining.

All things belong to the Mystery that is their Source, sustenance, and fulfillmentthe "Infinite" Mystery beyond all things, who fashions all things, who freely gives all things to themselves and one another according to a mysterious wisdom.

And so we cannot possess things by dominating them and reducing them to our own finite and ultimately reductive, constraining measure. Our life becomes "offering" when we use and possess and love things in a way that takes them completely seriously, because things are a hymn of rejoicing to the One who makes them be, and the only way to truly love them is to join in that hymn.

The ecstasy of the beauty of things is their abandoning-of-themselves to the One who sustains them and calls them to their own fruition. We offer our day when we join in with the "giving" of things, when we allow their song of rejoicing to enter into our awareness, when our engagement of reality becomes a prayer, a "blessing of the Lord" that gives voice to the hymn of creation: Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord. Praise and exalt Him above all forever!

How does this "offering" extend to love for another person? The greatest gift, the greatest beauty in all of creation is the other person. There is much to be said about this. For now, I can only reflect that in loving other persons I am loving others who, like me, are called to the joys of eternal life. This is where the true identity of every person is found. Every person is created in the image of God and called to share in the likeness of God and the life of God. This unique, sacred, personal vocation to belong to God as His child (and heir) in Jesus Christ their Redeemer and brother is at the heart of who each person really is.

When I engage in a relationship with another person, I "offer" that relationship through the recognition that this someone is not primarily a source of satisfaction or utility for me, but someone who has a vocation, a fulfillment corresponding to their own freedom, a personal destiny—they are a someone who is "for Another." To offer to God my love for another person means also to love that person for who they truly are, that is, to love them for the sake of that Other and their relationship with that Other. It is to love their destiny.