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Scott P. Richert

Offering It Up

By November 8, 2013

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This Month of the Holy Souls in Purgatory is a good time to remind ourselves of some spiritual practices of the past that have been neglected in recent decades.A Memento Mori marks a tomb in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. (Photo © Scott P. Richert) As belief in the doctrine of Purgatory has waned, fewer people pray for the Holy Souls. And far fewer people engage in the practice of "offering it up"--offering up our daily sufferings, toil, and stress for the good of the souls in Purgatory.

Pope Benedict XVI referred to this practice in his weekly Angelus address on Sunday, November 4, 2007:

Truthfully, the Church invites us to pray for the dead every day, offering also our sufferings and difficulties that they, once completely purified, might be admitted to enjoy the light and peace of the Lord for all eternity.

When we offer up our daily sufferings, we benefit, too, because we learn better to cope with the challenges of our daily life. Whenever we find ourselves in a bad situation, we should remind ourselves that we're offering it up for the Holy Souls, because the merit of our offering increases when we cope with the situation with Christian charity, humility, and patience.

Children, too, can learn to "offer it up," and they're often eager to do so, especially if they can offer up the trials of childhood for a beloved grandparent or other relative or friend who has died. It's a good way to remind them that, as Christians, we believe in life after death and that, in a very real sense, the souls of the dead are still with us.

(A Memento Mori marks a tomb in the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome. "Memento mori" is Latin for "Remember, you must die." The image reminds us of our own mortality and the judgment to come. Photo © Scott P. Richert)

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November 13, 2007 at 10:52 pm
(1) Harry says:

Yes. “Offer it up” is a common expression with us. It is sort of the Catholic version of “suck it up.” But it means more than simply to “endure and have courage.” It suggests giving your endurance an eternal value.

November 15, 2007 at 3:17 pm
(2) sue says:

I was always told to offer it up to for the Holy Souls and have always said this to my children, Thankyou for putting it so clearly that now (although they are all adults)they can understand why, my children are going through that stage of uncertainty about there religion but I know that all the little things they have heard all their lives have stuck with them and that this will eventually bring them back (just like lost sheep)

November 8, 2013 at 1:15 pm
(3) Staci says:

This is new to me. I was raised Catholic but have never heard/taught the phrase “Offer it up.” I like the Harry’s comment about it being the Catholic version of “Suck it up”.

November 8, 2013 at 1:34 pm
(4) Clara says:

I remember the sisters telling us that we should give thanks to God for every opportunity to offer up a suffering for the Holy Souls.
I also remember, as a little girl, sitting in a hay stack behind the barn with my Baltimore Catechism, looking up the prayers that produced the longest indulgences (say 10 years instead of 3 years) and praying these over and over for whichever Holy Soul had just that much time left in his purgatory (No one I knew had died yet).
I taught my own children to offer up their prayers and sufferings for the Holy Souls, especially for their grandparents and aunts and uncles, and priests who we knew. I sure hope they teach their own kids to do the same for me…

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