Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

23 April 2013

Bring Back the Morning Offering!

This post from the blog "Ascending Mount Carmel" was worth the read, because it reminded me of a prayer I learned in seventh grade (the year I began Catholic school), to wit, the "Morning Offering."
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day: for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for all my sins, for the intentions of all my associates, and in particular, for the intentions recommended this month by our Holy Father.
From memory...BAM!   I can remember this prayer, first learned 25 years ago at St. Clair Catholic, but I can't remember to lock doors.  In this and other respects I have a sort of patron in Woody Allen: “How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?”

The obsessive-compulsive conscientious fact checker in me consulted a search engine, whose first, appropriate, yield was EWTN.  Its version of the MO explains "associates" as "relatives and friends" and omits "recommended this month."  I respectfully disagree with these modifications, although my memorized version, it turns out, isn't the official one either.

"This month"?  What's that about, anyhow?  Glad you asked.  The Apostleship of Prayer is a Catholic prayer movement founded in 1844 by the Society of Jesus.  Its aim is to involve more and more people in the Church's missionary activity through prayer.  Each year the AoP issues the Pope's monthly prayer intentions--one general and one missionary.  The AoP website also offers rather helpful reflections on the intentions.  And this page offers several variations on the MO that were, until now, unfamiliar to me.

I like the version that includes "my work, my prayers, my apostolic efforts."  But here as always when it comes to prayer, the formula is subordinate to the recollection (attentiveness) and the discipline (fidelity) with which we pray.

Mr. Liske of AMC cites the Ignatian and Salesian endorsement of praise and contrition as dual bookends for the day.  Hans Urs Von Balthasar (S.J.) wrote a book entitled "Truth is Symphonic."  I've never read it, but I like to cite the phrase whenever people of different stripes agree on fundamental realities.  Jesus said that the agreement of two people on any matter merits the Father's attention (cf. Mt 18:19).  In today's polarized society, concord is a hot commodity!

Perhaps the Patient Reader would agree with me that some form of morning offering, conducted faithfully and attentively, would serve the Church well.  Simple and direct is the way to connect.

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