I can remember as a child falling off my bike and cutting my knee. I was fairly young and remember running into the house where my mother pulled me close and comforted me. I'm not sure who said, it, either my mother or my father but at one point, I heard, "offer it up." This may not have even been the first time I'd heard that phrase. But it resonated in me and I could hear the words in my head throughout my life.
Now it is my turn to parent and I've said the same thing, but one of my kids said, "to who? What are you talking about?" And I do recall as a child I didn't quite understand either, so I thought I'd do my best to explain it.
I looked at my precious one and said, "well sweetness, sometimes the most loving thing we can do is give to others, but if we can't reach them, we ask God to give it to them for us, as a surprise. For example, I'm asking you to clean your room, and you could offer that task as a gift for a child who does not have a sister to share a room with." Even at eight they roll their eyes. "So if you do it with a smile, God will wrap that lovely gift with a shiny bow, and the little girl will not go to sleep lonely, or sad." That got her. She turned to me and nodded like she got it. And I added, "Maybe if you ask God he will let you send your Guardian Angel to bring the gift." My sweet little girl cleaned her room, as well as an eight year old can do who shares a room with a six year old sister, "who messes up everything!"
I will say it does make doing the dishes a little less mundane if I know that I can ask God to give it to my friend at the bus stop who is struggling in her marriage, or the lady at the grocery store whose husband is in Iraq. Or the mother I see on TV sobbing because her child is missing.
I think of "offering up" as a fasting from self. I can add to that by offering up other things, like extra helpings of food, or eating out as a 'gift' for someone else in need.
Mother Theresa said to never waste a sacrifice. I think those are wise words.
14 And coming to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes disputing with them. 15 And presently all the people seeing Jesus, were astonished and struck with fear; and running to him, they saluted him. 16 And he asked them: What do you question about among you? 17 And one of the multitude, answering, said: Master, I have brought my son to thee, having a dumb spirit. 18 Who, wheresoever he taketh him, dasheth him, and he foameth, and gnasheth with the teeth, and pineth away; and I spoke to thy disciples to cast him out, and they could not. 19 Who answering them, said: O incredulous generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. 20 And they brought him. And when he had seen him, immediately the spirit troubled him; and being thrown down upon the ground, he rolled about foaming. 21 And he asked his father: How long time is it since this hath happened unto him? But he said: From his infancy: 22 And oftentimes hath he cast him into the fire and into waters to destroy him. But if thou canst do any thing, help us, having compassion on us. 23 And Jesus saith to him: If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And immediately the father of the boy crying out, with tears said: I do believe, Lord: help my unbelief. 25 And when Jesus saw the multitude running together, he threatened the unclean spirit, saying to him: Deaf and dumb spirit, I command thee, go out of him; and enter not any more into him. 26 And crying out, and greatly tearing him, he went out of him, and he became as dead, so that many said: He is dead. 27 But Jesus taking him by the hand, lifted him up; and he arose. 28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples secretly asked him: Why could not we cast him out? 29 And he said to them: This kind can go out by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.