Aloha Friday Message – October 4, 2019 – What shall I give him?

1940AFC100419 – What shall I give him?

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     Luke 17:10 10 “So you also, when you have done all that you were ordered to do, say, ‘We are worthless slaves; we have done only what we ought to have done!'”

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Today’s title What shall I give him is from the last stanza of A Christmas Carol by Christina Rossetti it goes like this:
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,—
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

This short verse has particular significance in our family. In 1978 when we adopted our son, Timothy, we followed the example of Hannah – the mother of Samuel – and dedicated him to the Lord. For the next twelve years, we held a Mass in our home rededicating Timothy. Part of the dedication prayer was Timothy reading or reciting this scrap of poetry. It would become our family offering for the rest of our lives.

Making an offering is an important part of any Christian life. In fact, if you think back about any religion in history, they all involve making some sort of sacrificial offering. Whether the offering is to Jehovah or other gods in other religions, it is always important to offer something of one’s self – we call that stewardship of time, of capability, or of material goods – to honor or appease a deity, to “ingratiate” oneself in some way to someone or something greater than one’s life and outside of one’s life.

Throughout the Old Testament Jehovah instructs his people Israel on how to present sacrifices to him as a burnt offering “for a sweet savor before the Lord.” There were a lot of offerings made! Part of the cycle of offerings included daily offerings of one spotless lamb in the morning and one spotless lamb in the evening (See Exodus 29:39). There were offerings for sin, for feasts, for Thanksgiving and praise, for festivals (the Holy Days prescribed by God), and all of them were to be done regularly. All of them were sacrificial offerings, and sacrificial offerings are intended to be just that – a sacrifice, something we do not expect to get back but give anyway. In all honesty, there are many folks who think of sacrificial offerings as a bartering system. We give a deity something and expect the deity to return something to us such as fertility, better crops, winning a war, building or sailing a canoe, or whatever we feel we are lacking. Others see sacrificial offerings in ways closer to what they are – a gift of thanks, of reverence, and of awe. So just what is an offering?

It is a gift, a submission of one’s property, a contribution for the common good or for improvement of personal status in relation to a deity. It is an intensely personal act of worship – or certainly should be: “This is mine and I’m giving it completely to You.” The most beautiful and famous offering of all time is the life of Jesus the Christ. He gave his complete self to God as a sacrificial offering – “this pure victim, this holy victim, this spotless victim, the holy Bread of eternal life and the Chalice of everlasting salvation.” (See Eucharistic Prayer I). The word “victim” is used for the Latin word hostia which means sacrifice or victim. In the English translation from the Latin canon, victim may have been chosen because it more properly reflects the theology associated with the original formation of that prayer. Victim or Sacrifice, the important thing to remember is that an offering was made. In the Catholic Church, that offering is made around the world 24/7/365, and it is the same offering every day in every way. Christ is the Altar, Christ is the Priest, and Christ is the offering. By Faith and Grace we have participated in that offering, lending our heart’s desire to the liturgy which is “only what we ought to have done!” Even done daily, there is a little something extra we can add as a deeply personal offering: Self. I can give God my being, my person, my life. We surely all remember John 15:13 13 No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. God is our Friend, too. Will I, will we, lay down our life for God? It may not require suffering to the “point of shedding blood.” (See Hebrews 12:4) In fact, there are great examples of daily sacrifices – consecrations of one’s day – to God. There are many forms, but here is a common one from Father Francois Xavier Gaulrelet in 1844 for his Apostleship of Prayer which he founded that year.

    O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, the reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month. That is pretty simple but very powerful. Here is a version I used based on the same idea:

O my Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You this day and all of my thoughts, words, and deeds, my works, my prayers, my joys, my sorrows, my victories and my defeats, my fears and anxieties, my heart’s desires, everything I do and everything I fail to do, all that I am and all that I have, everything I can become – I offer everything to You. Even my temptations and my sins I lay at your feet so that you may possess all of me.

The effect can be extraordinary! The essence of this daily morning offering is that henceforth every act we do that day becomes a sacrifice, a consecration – a gift to God – of our own entirety. Once we have made our morning offering, we make “holy” every act we do throughout the day. Remember Romans 12:1? I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. We ought to pray for one another as well, so consider this Prayer for All Souls:

Jesus, lover of mankind, You came to Earth centuries ago to be the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and yet countless men and women, boys and girls, do not know You, do not love You as well as they could, and many are indifferent or opposed to You. In this state of being, Lord, they might not consciously offer You their lives today. There are millions more, Lord, who do know You, do love You, but do not know about, do not care about, or have forgotten about making a daily offering, so Lord, on behalf of all of these souls I offer You the best moments of their day today so that You might be loved and honored in some way by them, too. Lord Jesus Christ, be merciful to them all as miserable sinners, forgive them their sins, and bring them to everlasting life. Amen.

Our beautiful Little Sister in Christ Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, extended her heart to God in several beautiful prayers including some lovely Morning Offering prayers you may want to see.

When I make my morning offering, I am glaringly reminded of my tendency to reach up and grab away my offering of obedience to God’s will, so I ask for guidance in knowing and keeping his will:

Almighty Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – I love You. I worship You. I adore You. I praise You. I glorify Your name, I give you thanks for revealing your Glory through Christ Jesus our Lord. Enlighten, guide, strengthen, and console me. Teach me Your will and empower and inspire me to fulfill it completely, for it is my heart’s desire to serve You well in all that You ask of me and everything that You allow to happen to me. Only make Your will known, and grant me the graces necessary to faithfully follow You to the place You have prepared for me. I offer You this prayer in the name of Jesus, The Christ, our Lord who lives and reigns with God, The Father Almighty, in the unity of The Holy Spirit, The Lord, the Giver of Life. AMEN.  (This can also be used as an Evening Prayer.)

Belovéd, let us all find a way on this very day to offer God all of us because he loved us enough to give us all of him. Does it need to be complex and theologically scholarly? Of course not; it can be as simple as Rossetti’s little verse – or even simpler:

Jesus my life is yours today from this moment on. Do with it according to your will. Amen. Is that enough? The Holy Spirit says “yes.” Is it still “only what we ought to have done!?” Yes, it is, but it’s not merely tossed onto the Altar of our hearts. It is laid gently with Love and Reverence at the Feet of the Master and just may be received as “a sweet savor before the Lord.” We may be worthless slaves – unprofitable servants – but our offering will be welcomed by Our El Shaddai-Olam, the GREAT I AM, because he generously gives his Only Begotten Son so that whosoever would believe in him might live forever in the Father’s House of many mansions. Jesus reminded his followers – including us, Belovéd – that he, Jesus, is the Christ of God. He gave it all. We can aspire to do the same. If we can also add a Mass to our prayers of offerings, so much the better! In addition, we can make an offering of all that we have done in the evening as well. Psalm 141:2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. An Evening Prayer:  My God, I adore You, and I love You with all my heart. I thank you for having created me, for making me a Christian, and preserving me this night. I offer You the complete contents of this day. Grant that all of them may be in accordance with Your holy Will and for Your greater glory. Protect me from sin and from all evil. Let Your grace be always with me and with all my dear ones. In the Precious Name of Jesus. Amen.

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever —

at your service, Belovéd!

Please pray with us here at Share-a-Prayer.

Also, Belovéd, please thank the Lord for this ministry on the Internet and for the people who have helped it become a reality!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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