Light Weigh


On my recent trip to St. Louis for a parish mission at St. Dominic Savio Parish, I met a young woman who resonated with my message of seeing our lives--and every moment of them--as Eucharistic, as an invitation to make an offering of ourselves with Jesus to the Father. She resonated with it because this idea of "making offerings" has been part of a healthy eating program to which she belongs. It's called "Light Weigh." Some of the materials she showed me included a daily journal in which one makes a review of the day, looking for God's presence, gifts, and challenges in every hour of it.

She also shared with me a 2001 "Our Sunday Visitor" article about "Light Weigh" where the following comments caught my attention:

"The key is eating a smaller amount and offering the rest as a sacrifice for a specific intention."

"In addition to weight loss, [one participant] says the idea of offering sacrifices as gifts to God has helped everyone in her family. 'I home school our four children, and when things get frustrating, we all grab the sacrifice beads,' she said."

What are "sacrifice beads?" A string of beads on which one counts the sacrifices or good deeds that one does. Marie Martin, the older sister of St. Therese, gave her a set of such beads when she was quite young and her mother Zelie, who died when Therese was only four, once wrote about her: "Even Therese wants to start making sacrifices now. Marie has given each of the little ones a chaplet on which they can keep count of their good deeds. ... But the most charming thing of all is to see Therese slip her hand into her pocket time and time again and move a bead along as she makes some sacrifice."

I share all this as an example of how the spirituality of "offer it up" has all sorts of contemporary applications. While it's wonderful to see how it is helping people in the Light Weigh program lose weight, it's even more wonderful to imagine the spiritual power of those sacrifices and all the good they are doing in the world.