A reader writes:
In a recent article you mentioned "offering up" your struggles. How do you do this? What kind of things do you say or do to "offer up" the struggles? Are there certain prayers that you use?
It's a very good question. In the most general sense, any prayer or intention to "offer it up" is sufficient. Simply stop at a moment of stress, or as you enter into a situation that you know will be stressful, and make the Sign of the Cross and say something like, "O Jesus, I offer up my struggles and sacrifices today for the relief of the Holy Souls in Purgatory."
A better way, though, is to memorize a Morning Offering (or to keep a copy of it near your bed), and to say it when you first wake up. Traditionally, the Morning Offering, along with the Our Father and the Act of Faith, the Act of Hope, and the Act of Charity, were the centerpieces of Catholic morning prayers. In the Morning Offering, we dedicate our entire day to God, and we promise to offer up our sufferings throughout the day for the souls in Purgatory.
You can find a traditional form of the Morning Offering here, but there are many others; any good Catholic prayerbook will have at least one.
If you have a question that you would like to have featured in our "Reader Questions" series, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to put "QUESTION" in the subject line, and please note whether you'd like me to address it privately or on the Catholicism blog.