Spe Salvi 40: Offering It Up

One last thought on Action and suffering as settings for learning hope.

40. I would like to add here another brief comment with some relevance for everyday living. There used to be a form of devotion—perhaps less practiced today but quite widespread not long ago—that included the idea of “offering up” the minor daily hardships that continually strike at us like irritating “jabs”, thereby giving them a meaning. Of course, there were some exaggerations and perhaps unhealthy applications of this devotion, but we need to ask ourselves whether there may not after all have been something essential and helpful contained within it. What does it mean to offer something up? Those who did so were convinced that they could insert these little annoyances into Christ’s great “com-passion” so that they somehow became part of the treasury of compassion so greatly needed by the human race. In this way, even the small inconveniences of daily life could acquire meaning and contribute to the economy of good and of human love. Maybe we should consider whether it might be judicious to revive this practice ourselves.

The fast pace of modern life does work against this. We want our electronics to boot up quick, and when we first buy them and set them up, it goes that way. With the passage of time and the addition of updates it all slows down and our impatience is tickled.

Not unlike relationships. When we are in the mode of infatuation, we will forgive the other’s annoying habits. And more, we will act quickly to impress them, serve them, and cater to them. Then we slow it down.

Sometimes all it takes is a deep breath and moving on from whatever small stumble has darkened our day.

This document is Copyright © 2007 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana. You can find the full document online here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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