By Christopher Heffron
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It’s one of the most unbearable sounds that I have ever known: the blaring of my alarm clock. It’s 6:30 and, yet again, I am jolted from sleep by that intolerable noise.
“Gotta find that snooze button and hit it…hard.”
I wake to the same noise a brief 10 minutes later. Thus, my routine begins: I stumble out of bed, shower, put on my poorly ironed clothes and leave for work.
As tradition holds, I battle traffic. Angry drivers weave around me, glaring as they make their hurried way. But I’m too tired to care. My eyes are strained and weary. It’s bumper-to-bumper now, with little hope of eas-ing. Quietly, amid the chaos, an old favorite rises from the landscape of my half-slumbered mind: the Morning Offering.
I have known this prayer since I was 11. In the sixth grade, we were each assigned a prayer to read in front of the class and evaluate its meaning. The memory lingers still: With a pounding heart, apprehensive voice and shaky hands buried in my corduroys, I dove into my interpretation of the prayer. After 17 years, it hasn’t changed.
I see the Morning Offering as a prayer of new beginnings. Derived from the League of the Sacred Heart of Jesus’ “Apostleship of Prayer,” it was begun in 1844 in Vals, France. For me, its origin only goes so far. The significance, however, travels much further.
Simply, it’s my daily appeal for a clean slate. My sins of yesterday cower in the face of my potential for good today. This is my chance. The day ahead is a large, blank canvas. To God, I offer my finest paints and my greatest effort to create a work of art.
Some days I’m more creative than others. Still, the Morning Offering is my solemn promise: To God, who graced me with life, I will do my part to make it shine; to Mary, who gives warmth to the colder corners of my heart, I will use my gifts to make her smile.
I do this not only for myself: For my friends and family, those who bring color to my life, I am unyielding in my efforts to make this day a thing of beauty.
Of course, I’m not always successful. Try as I might, I am far from perfect. I am crammed with imperfections but I am also full of promise. I am a stumbling, sinning, redeeming, work-in-progress—a kind of graceful wreck. God knows this and, quite often, has caught me when I’ve lost my footing. And Lord knows, I fall often.
A great deal can happen in a day’s time. The moment I walk out of my front door, I throw myself, freely, to the wolves of the day. I am vulnerable, but shielded.
With this prayer, I have offered it up. I have pledged allegiance and loyalty to God, to the large family of believers we call the Church, to our Holy Father and to those around me: my family, my friends and my colleagues.
This beloved prayer is my motivation to make the day ahead of me a meaningful, worthwhile undertaking. It is my conversation with God—my way of saying, with tired eyes, a willing heart and a sea of irritated drivers all around me, “Good morning.”
A Morning Offering Prayer
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,
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. Amen.