Recently I was talking to a friend of ours, a member of Opus Dei, and asked her to pray for a sick relative of mine. She said, “I’m going to a party this weekend, I’ll offer it up for her – you can offer up the good stuff, too.”
That’s a beautiful response and it’s so Catholic! The world has a gloomy stereotype of Catholicism: sour old nuns flogging themselves; poor, miserable people trying to placate an angry God. They would have you believe that rigid abnegation and utilitarianism is something that belongs to Catholics. It is so very un-Catholic! The truth is that only in Catholicism can you find a true, right, holy joy in all of creation, a delightful gratitude for all that God made, for indeed it is very good.
The Church loves life. She loves this amazing world God created out of love for us. She understands the human spirit, the human heart, that the soul needs Lent and Advent, but it also needs the joy of Easter and Christmas, too. Or, as Theresa of Avila put it, “There’s a time for penance and a time for partridge.”
So as you live out your daily routine, don’t forget that you can offer up your trials and pains and sufferings, but you can also offer up your joys and your ice cream cones, too. Jesus wants it all! He cares about every detail of your life, more than your mind can fathom. Our happiness, the joy we take in life’s pleasures, can be efficacious, too, when we offer it God with a grateful heart.