St. Francis de Sales is the master of the spiritual life for lay people. His book, Introduction to the Devout Life teaches us how we can grow closer to God while living out our lives as spouses or single people in the world.
One of the practices St. Francis urges his readers to make a habit of is the morning offering. In fact he says, “Never omit this practice.” A morning offering sets the tone for your day. It helps you acknowledge that the day is God’s, not your own. It can give you the strength you need to face trials, peace amid busy schedules, and added grace for unforeseen temptations.
I confess I was never taught to make my own morning offering as a child. We sometimes had family prayer in the morning. At Catholic elementary school we started the day with prayer. But no one told me I should make a private morning offering until I was much older. I found it hard to take up the practice, and even harder to maintain it over the long-term.
If your schedule allows you to take a block of time for personal prayer (aka mental prayer) first thing in the morning, then you are covering two bases at once. Parents of young children, like me, often have to pray later in the day. We should then make a separate morning offering. We should always start the day with our minds fixed on God.
Pre-composed morning offerings
The morning offering can be very simple. The Apostleship of Prayer suggests this one:
“O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world. I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sin, and the reunion of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer, and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month.”
That is quite a mouthful and will take some time to memorize. There are many simpler alternatives. Parents of young children might try saying this prayer with them:
“Dear God, now that I start the day, I offer you my heart and pray, Guide me in everything I do, And keep me always close to you. Amen.” I found that prayer in the Catholic Children’s Treasure Box series. We open our homeschool with it daily.
A personal litany
I start my own day by invoking the intercession of angels and saints I am devoted to, including St. Michael, the patrons of our family members, and our guardian angels. Then I offer my day to Mary. I ask her to help me imitate her in pondering God’s Word throughout the day. I might name a few special intentions. The whole process takes only a minute or two.
Starting your day with the Lord is very simple. It need not be intimidating. Once you have made it a habit, you will wonder how you lived without it for so long.
Share with us: How do you make your morning offering?