Offering Joys

In the traditional Morning Offering prayer we say that we offer our daily joys to the Lord, but those often go unnoticed and forgotten. We tend to turn more to God in our pains than in our joys and when we offer something up, it's often our sufferings and trials. That's important. We ought to join our sufferings to the cross of Jesus and in that way join in the work of salvation. That's what St. Paul did. In Colossians 1: 24 he wrote: "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church...."

But the Lord wants us to offer up everything. He wants us to share our joys with Him as well as our sufferings.

With that in mind yesterday, I was more conscious of offering my joys to God. What were they? The joy of a beautiful day of vacation in Minnesota and the opportunity to golf with Denis, a good friend and longtime retreatant at the Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Elmo where I was on the staff for three years and where I continue to give about three retreats a year.

The day was beautiful. The golf course, Applewood Hills, with holes bordered by apple trees, was beautiful. The weather was perfect for golf. The flowers around the course were at their peak. The golf itself was so-so. Some good shots--enough to keep me coming back--but more bad ones. That didn't matter. In fact, the golf was more an occasion to share some quality time and good conversation with a friend while walking in the beauty of creation.

It was, I think, a taste of heaven. Another friend of mine calls these times, these joys, "little hors d'oeuvres of the heavenly banquet." Remember: Jesus described heaven as a big banquet. Earthly joys are appetizers of the banquet. They whet our appetite for more, for the joys to which earthly joys pale in comparison. If these appetizers are so good, imagine what the main course will be!

So it's good to consciously share our joys with the Lord. In doing so we savor them and our hearts become more grateful and our attitudes more positive. And out of a grateful heart we offer ourselves with Jesus to the Father. That's what it means to live a Eucharistic life, the simple and profound life that we promote in the Apostleship of Prayer.

Thanks Denis! And thank you Lord!