Happy to be writing again. Huge thanks to Charlie for picking up some of my slack!
If you ever attended a Catholic school, especially if you ever had religious sisters as teachers, you probably heard the following phrase: “Offer it up!” We were being asked to offer our sufferings or hardships, however small they were, to be united to the suffering of Jesus on the cross. These Christians who encouraged us understood that, because Jesus’s suffering had been redemptive, when we unite our suffering to His through Him, so too our suffering might be redemptive.
It’s a Catholic custom to “give up,” something during the season of Lent (right before Easter). I invite and encourage all of you, Catholic and not, to expand upon this practice. Give something up today, and give something up everyday. It doesn’t have to be something huge. Somebody cut you off in traffic? Instead of tailgating or swearing, offer it up. Feeling tempted to have another cookie (or coffee, or soda, or whatever your vice is)? Consider that something that you give up, a cross you bear, to grow closer to The Lord, and to make your actions meritorious through the goodness of God’s grace.
“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” That’s what Paul writes in his first letter to the Thessalonians (5:16-18). Christians are called to rejoice not frequently but always, to pray not often but constantly, and to give thanks not only sometimes but in all circumstances. Consider adding this sort of sacrifice to your growing prayer life and life of giving thanks to the Lord. IT can bear really great fruit.