“Take, O Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. You have given all to me, to you O Lord I return it. All is yours, dispose of it wholly, according to your will. Give me your love and your grace, for this is sufficient for me.” (Saint Ignatius, Spiritual Exercises 234)
The seventh step of the “Way of the Heart” is entitled, “We offer our lives along with him” and focuses on our Daily Offering, giving to God our whole selves in response to the love he pours out to us.
As we draw closer to God in our relationship with him, there grows within the depths of our hearts a desire to offer our lives as a sacrifice for others, in imitation of Jesus’ sacrifice for us. We recognize the love Jesus had for us and so we want to love others in a similar way.
The documents guiding the recreation of the PWPN further explain this step.
We come closer to the world’s suffering as we are put with Jesus, and we will strive to respond as he did. We tell the Father our readiness to collaborate with his Son through a prayer of self offering. We are at the same time humbly praying to the Holy Spirit that we may cease to obstruct his work in us. Through the Eucharist we are inspired and nourished in a special way, for there we find the perfect offering of Christ to the Father and a model for our own life-offering.
This Daily Offering of our lives with Jesus is not easy and we often have to fight back many selfish tendencies within us. Often this means getting outside of our “comfort zone” and encountering others outside of our own small group of friends and family.
Pope Francis reminded us of this central truth during his very first General Audience in 2013.
God came out of himself to come among us, he pitched his tent among us to bring to us his mercy that saves and gives hope. Nor must we be satisfied with staying in the pen of the 99 sheep if we want to follow him and to remain with him; we too must ‘go out’ with him to seek the lost sheep, the one that has strayed the furthest. Be sure to remember: coming out of ourselves, just as Jesus, just as God came out of himself in Jesus and Jesus came out of himself for all of us. Someone might say to me: ‘but Father, I don’t have time.’ ‘I have so many things to do,’ ‘it’s difficult.’ ‘what can I do with my feebleness and my sins, with so many things?’
Certainly our own weaknesses can sometimes intimidate us and we think that we could never offer our lives with Jesus. However, the good news is that we are never alone in this endeavor, Christ is always with us by our side, encouraging us to press on. One could say that sometimes it appears that Jesus is Simon of Cyrene in our lives, carrying part of the burden so that we can progress further than we possibly imagined.
Let us always turn to God for strength to get out of our “comfort zone” and offer our lives as a living sacrifice, praying and serving those in need.