485px-Vincent_Willem_van_Gogh_022-2The Curé d’Ars said that, “All that we do, without offering it to God, is wasted,” and he is of course right, but it must be emphasized that the Morning Offering isn’t a magic formula. It does not automatically transform the forthcoming day, that’s why something further is required.  My mother told me that after she had made her Morning Offering she would spend a few minutes reviewing the day ahead and making a few resolutions that would enable her   to try and consecrate every moment of the day to loving God directly in prayer , and indirectly  to loving our neighbours through all we say and do. It might be to do humdrum tasks that we keep putting off, like changing the sheets on the bed, putting air into the car tires, defrosting the freezer, or something that’s more important. There’s always that friend or relative who’s sick or in need, who we should ‘phone, or write to, or even visit for a few minutes. Alternatively, perhaps we should make a resolution to apologize to one of the family, a friend, or someone at work, for the way we behaved towards them the previous day.

It’s very difficult to stand up for someone who’s been abused by authority at work, or elsewhere, or to speak the truth when no one wants to hear it, or to make a stand for what we know is right. But nevertheless these are some of the more important things that could occupy our minds as part of Morning Prayer. Perhaps we could end with the most important resolution of all that is to try and make the forthcoming day, a day when we try as best we can to enable God’s love to draw us up, not just into the life of Christ, but into his priestly action. It is only there that we will be able to love God as we should, by offering him all that we are and all that we do, but most of all by offering him the way we have tried to serve him in and through the neighbour  in need. In this way every day is a day in which we spend every single moment trying to observe the New Commandments, firstly  by loving God, and then in loving him in the neighbour in need, just as Jesus did.

One of the most important truths of the spiritual life that we neglect at our peril is that we won’t ultimately be judged by the wonderful feelings that we’ve experienced in prayer. We won’t be asked how many ecstasies we’ve had or even how many miracles we’ve worked, or people we’ve healed, but how we’ve served God in the neighbour in need. If we have done this, even if we have failed in so much else, we will be invited to share in his glory, because he will say to us:-

“I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”(Matthew 25:31-46)

But if we fail to do this, then we will be condemned to hear other frightening words:-

 “Depart from me, for I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me. For in truth I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.”(Matthew 25:31-46)

The morning offering and its implementation then, is not just a nice pious practice for those who have the time to do it, but something on which our ultimate destination depends. It is the place where the whole of the forthcoming day is dedicated to loving God through a continual process of prayer, self-sacrifice, and the service of others. In this way all that is said, done, and suffered, all that is enjoyed and celebrated, is offered in, through and with Jesus to our common Father. This is the new worship in spirit and in truth that Jesus promised to the Samaritan woman. We are called to take part in the priestly action of Jesus every moment of every day of our lives. We can be encouraged by the words of one of the Desert Fathers, who insisted that we will ultimately be judged, not so much on what we have achieved, but on how best we have tried. In the word of the Jewish Philosopher Simone Weil –‘a person is no more than the quality of their endeavour’ and that’s how God will judge us if nobody else does.

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