I have found that “offering it up” is a process whereby I open myself to God’s transforming grace. Darkness or deep hurt can make it hard to discern how to move peacefully through these phases.
It’s normal to move in and out or even repeat phases for the same suffering.
Sometimes, much needed direction can be offered from a spiritual director or a trusted priest.
- Acceptance: It’s about moving my will to match God’s will. Our example is Jesus in the Garden. Our flesh will put up a pretty good fight! When I’ve got plenty of reasons why I shouldn’t be subjected to something, this is my flesh waging war!A simple prayer to battle this for me is, “God, I know you’re asking this of me, even though I don’t want to do this, I will do it because I believe that You know best.”
- Obedience: It’s about doing God’s will. Our example is Jesus carrying His cross. He remained silent. For me, it means doing without complaining. It means to obey with a happy heart. Just as Jesus had His Mother, I’m also not meant to suffer alone. Confiding in my spouse, a spiritual director or a single, trusted friend is healthy! Outwardly, it means smiling and acting normal to the best of my ability, keeping hidden what should stay between God and my own soul.
- Trust: It’s about hope, believing we will receive what we have been promised. Our example is Jesus giving up His spirit. He trusted in the hope of the Resurrection.For Jesus and for us, it’s all about giving glory to God and saving souls! A simple prayer might go like this, “God, all is darkness, and I feel so weak. Be close to me and give me your strength to keep going.” Or, even more simply, “Jesus, I trust in You!”
- Gratitude: It’s about thanksgiving. Our example is Jesus’ response to the repentant thief! Offering Jesus our suffering and participating in His redemptive work is a gift. The gift He offers is union with Himself! This redemptive work will reap rewards for all eternity because it means helping souls get to Heaven. Even though our vision is limited, this is a spiritual reality. The only rational response is gratitude!
Offering it up is about the process!
Again, Jesus is our example. When carrying a heavy burden, it’s human to fall down. The important thing is that we get up and carry on.