PRAYERS FOR
OFFERING UP SUFFERING

Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “offer it up” about a problem? Offering up our troubles to God is a great way to remember that, in our faith, suffering is never wasted or meaningless when it’s united with Christ’s suffering on the Cross, for atonement for sins. 

Many people find it helpful to start the day with a morning offering. These prayers we present here for offering up suffering can help you and others as well.

We start first with this well-known prayer Our Lady taught the three Fatima visionaries, the children Lucia Dos Santos, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, in 1917, to be said when offering up sufferings, sacrifices, or penances:

Oh my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In a similar vein, we offer this prayer:

Dear Lord,
Help me to remember in these troubled times
The cross you carried for my sake,
So that I may better carry mine
And to help others do the same,
As I offer up (whatever your concern or problem here) to you
For the conversion of sinners
For the forgiveness of sins
In reparation for sins
And for the salvation of souls. Amen

Here’s a shorter version that expresses the same sentiment:

Dear Lord,
I offer you (whatever your concern or problem here)
For the conversion of sinners
For the forgiveness of sins
In reparation for sins and
For the salvation of souls. Amen.

As the well-known Catholic author Peter Kreeft once wrote in this article, our suffering can help both ourselves and others we may not even know. As he put it "If we are 'in Christ', we, like him, can offer up our sufferings to the Father—and he uses them. They become seeds, or rainwater, and something beautiful springs up that we seldom see in this life."

This concept of redemptive suffering is one of those wonderful divine mysteries, much like our Lord’s Incarnation and His Resurrection that we as human beings will never fully be able to explain but that can give our lives so much meaning. Our sufferings can have a purpose!

God has given us free will to choose to follow Him or not. We’ve abused it many times because of our own sinful nature. And yet He can not only forgive our sins through the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) but also, if we stay close to Him in prayers of offerings, He can take our troubles of any size and use them to make amends for our sins or those of others. (Think of this like paying to fix a window you or someone else broke!)

As Bishop Fulton Sheen once wrote “Pain, agony, disappointments, injustices-all these can be poured into a heavenly treasury from which the anemic, sinful, confused, ignorant souls may draw unto the healing of their wings.”

Think of your sufferings and prayer offerings such as these as contributions into an “Atonement Bank.” It’s not in danger of needing a bailout, and it can give you quite a high rate of return! Your “deposits” can help you, your loved ones or people you don’t even know attain salvation and Eternal Life!

We’d also like to share with you this prayer to offer up sufferings related to confusion, doubt or despair you might naturally feel in bad times:

Dear Lord, during this trial,
I offer up to you my confusion
Give me clarity
I offer up to you my despair
Give me hope
I offer up to you my weakness
Give me strength
I offer up to you my pettiness
Give me generosity of spirit.
I offer up to you all my
Negative thoughts from Satan
So that when he asks ‘Where is Your God now?”
I may respond “Right here with me, giving me His grace
As a Heavenly beam of light penetrating your darkness!"

Remember that in God’s eyes, not one of us is useless. He doesn’t want to lose one sheep in His flock, not one! The one we call the devil, Lucifer, or Satan, however, would like nothing better than to see our destruction.

For most of us, the devil doesn’t turn us into Linda Blair types in need of an Exorcist (as in the movie of that title). His approach is more subtle but it can be deadly nonetheless.

Satan, the father of lies as our Lord referred to him once (John 8:44), tries to play on our weaknesses, our doubts and fears, even in good times, much less in the bad! Don’t let him get you down!

Do you feel like a failure? Frustrated beyond belief? At your wit’s end? Offer all that baggage up to our Lord. Give Him your frustrations and failures. Don't give them to the devil and his forces of darkness.

Do you feel lost? Think of people you look up to, or who inspire you. You think they’ve all had it easy? Look at Jesus. He was born in a cave to die on a cross between two thieves. He was abandoned as a common criminal by his disciples! He must have been a total failure, right? Not at all!

Our Lord came down on earth to share in our sufferings and to give His life not just for our Eternal Life but also so that we may see just how much He loves each of us. This love can strengthen us in our struggles and also help us to share our sufferings with His on Calvary. We can also get His grace, guidance and help through the Eucharist in Holy Communion and in Confession as well!

So, remember, as Blessed Robert Southwell, a 16th Century martyr for Christ once said "God gave Himself to Thee; give Thyself to God."

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