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What does it mean to “offer it up”? Catholic Spiritual Direction Video

February 18, 2013 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Fr. Bartunek, Prayer, Suffering, Videos

“Offer it Up”: What Does it Mean?

In this video, Fr. John Bartunek and Dan Burke talk about what it means to join in the redemption of Christ through suffering. If you are alive, you are suffering in some way. With this video you will gain perspective on that suffering and how you can use it to grow in your relationship with Christ and to aid others in their redemption.

How did Jesus save us?  Not by eliminating suffering in the world, but by giving it meaning. Father John discusses how we become members of the mystical Body of Christ at our baptism, and what uniting our suffering to the suffering of Christ accomplishes.    And, he also explains how we can “offer it up” … and whether or not we can offer anything, or if there is a limit, or threshold, of what we can offer.  He explains what the cross is and what that has to do with this topic.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • CatholicKath

    Wow and wow and wow……….this is probably the video that has most resonates with my soul so far…… fact I just asked my priest during the last spiritual direction visit about uniting my suffering with Christ, as one of the prayers in the Saint Therese Vocation society talks about offering my sufferings and sacrifices in union with Christ for an increase in vocations…… wow………thank you………..and God bless

  • Trust! I never thought about it that way before! Suffering helps increase our trust and makes up for original sin! That makes so much sense!
    My Mom would tell us to offer it up when we were sick as kids but I don’t think we fully understood that meant back then.
    I often wondered about that verse “Offering a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.” Last Christmas season, I read it meant praising and thanking God in the midst of hardship. Shortly after, He gave me an opportunity to practice it, it was hard. I realized sometimes God inspires us, teaches us about the beauty and glory of the cross before He gives us one to embrace. It’s easier to trust Him and surrender to His will, when we know how wonderful it is!
    Thank you for this video!

    • Becky Ward

      Great insight Mary!! God does prepare us in advance for the crosses He sends us. I find that I don’t normally ‘see’ the lesson until after the cross has been given, and His grace comes to help me bear it.

  • zelmo1954

    Thank you.


  • carl641

    Thanks for the clear explanation. This was always one of those things I knew one should do and I tried to do, but it was always a little vague in my mind how it all worked and why. It makes sense to me now after listening to Fr John that we can unite our suffering to the suffering of the church and I guess, in turn, of the Lord for the redemption of the world. That gives it a purpose beyond just something strictly personal. I think this understanding will help me with resentment I sometimes feel regarding suffering.

  • Mary G

    The image of Joan of Arc in her martyrdom, needing to see the cross! she could focus her suffering efficaciously! O the love for Christ she has!

    And the soldier, who knew what she meant and gave it to her, the same way Fr. presented it to us in the telling!

    It gave me a blessing, a weapon to put in my arsenal to use when I am at my wits end.

    Thank you.

  • srockers81

    I like this very much. It’s a concept that I’ve tried to teach my young children. When they are hurt, sad, disappointed, etc., I help them pray ‘Jesus, let my pain help somebody else because I love you.’ I have to remind them that this prayer doesn’t take away their suffering, this prayer makes their suffering special. They seem to get it. And, (once the pain subsides) they seem pretty proud of themselves for being so brave. Thanks for this post!!

  • judeen

     offering up our sufferings with Jesus to God the Father for souls…… using a useless painful suffering or pain.. and when Joined with Jesus and Jesus offering it up to God the Father becomes so powerful! and every little pain can be so useful to help others…. a person , no matter how little and unsinificate … can do such powerful important things witH Jesus…..  each person is so important… their beleif in God so powerful. …. to release a soul from purigitory… from bringing people back to church from sinful ways…. so on.. did you know that you were so important… ? think about it.. we are nothing.. no matter how much we study and know everything.. yet are soldiers in Gods army when we live our lives with God

  • Croix_H

    What a man can do if God’s will is always something hard, ugly and painful? It seems to me that one day I’ll wake up with an idea that God really, really hates me.

  • $43996815

    Thank you so much for this reflection and explanation. I am confused though be cause I don’t understand if I suffer physically with a toothach, back pain, cancer or anything am I suppose to seek relief from a Dr. or do I accept this suffering and do nothing about it? Please help because this always nags at my mind as seeing Dr. and medication as God’s gift to relieve my suffering.

    • LizEst

      Yes, go ahead and seek relief. In fact, Jesus said that people who are well do not need a doctor but sick people do. That is meant both physically and spiritually. Spiritually, all of us need our healing Lord. Physically, it is fine to seek relief. Christ himself said “I thirst” on the cross.

      Pain is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. In fact, you can endanger your health if you do nothing about the pain. And, it can be sinful not to care for your body because it is a temple of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, pain can keep you from caring for your family and those who have need of your assistance. Severe pain can make it very, very difficult to pray. You don’t have to worry that you will have nothing to offer up. While you are waiting for the medicine to work and the pain to subside, you can offer up the pain you do have.

      Pain can also be psychological. It can be stress. It can be difficulties with relationships, work environment, finances, having nothing to eat, being cold, etc.

      If you wish to offer up a headache or back pain that you know doesn’t endanger you or your family’s welfare by incapacitating you, then don’t take medicine and offer it up. Join that to Christ and His holy passion. You can certainly do that. And, oh by the way, offering it up also carries with it the implication that you will not complain about it to others and/or make the lives of those around you miserable because of it.

  • Though, as usual I come late on this Post, it is reassuring to hear Father John and Dan reaffirming that Christ’s call to us to take our cross daily and follow Him becomes redemptive when we offer our Sufferings for the salvation of souls. Saint Faustina did just that, especially during her last 13 years on this earth before she died at the age of 33 years in 1938, and saved millions of souls which pleased Jesus very much.

     I could not help sending this Video to one of my friends who finds it very difficult to accept that suffering, all suffering is not from the Devil as the Charismatics try to teach us.  In their monthly Healing and Deliverance, they exhort us, Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy and those who attend Prayer Days at our Divine Mercy Spiritual Centre,  to pray that all our illnesses, common colds, high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, et all, even my back problem which is the result of my 46-year Career working sitting down, be delivered because they are from the Devil!!!!!!!

    I sure pray this Video will convince him just how wrong it is to attribute the Devil such great powers, yet we know God is the Almighty and nothing happens without His Will.

  • douglas kraeger

    Very nice. When our children were young we encouraged them to “offer it up”. When they were older, some mentioned that they never really understood what that meant. I believe now that we should have included a specific reference to Colossians 1:24, “Now, I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of His body, which is the Church” and also reference CCC 2741, “If our prayer is resolutely united with that of Jesus, in trust and boldness as children, we obtain all that we ask in HIS NAME, even more than any particular thing, the Holy Spirit himself, who contains all gifts.”
    In ” resolutely uniting our prayer with that of Jesus” we can do it in general and in specific detail. In general we know that (CCC 2606) “All the troubles, for all time, of humanity enslaved by sin and death, all petitions and intercessions of salvation history are summed up in this cry of the Incarnate Word” and therefore Jesus is praying for everyone at every point of their lives and we should join our prayer to His infinite prayer because it is best and always perfect.
    In specific detail we can also know that every prayer that Jesus (The perfect embodiment of the Fourth commandment) said with Joseph and Mary, honoring them as a perfect child should in their prayer life, is also made present when we pray the “Name Jesus” (CCC 2666, The name “Jesus” contains all; God and Man and the whole economy of creation and salvation. To pray “Jesus” is to invoke Him and to call Him within us. His name is the only one that contains the presence it signifies.”
    When we pray the name “Jesus” we can unite our prayer to all the prayers of Joseph and Mary united to the prayers of Jesus as He eternally honors them and therefore unite our sacrifices to theirs as well as Jesus’s on the cross for everyone.
    By referencing Colossians 1:24 and the CCC we can flesh out “offer it up” and also show how we should always be able to back up we say with an explanation the Church has given and in that way encourage the children to work and study to be better able to do the same when they are parents.
    A question:Do you know of any book or articles that do more in explaining “to pray in the “Name of Jesus”?

  • Rosemary58

    My mom would say this frequently when I was very young. I think today, her meaning would have been “suck it up”. Sadly, she used the “offer it up” phrase in exasperation when she could not deal with me or my slblings when we had a complaint. Her response was to invalidate whatever our issue was. We had no idea what “offer it up” meant.
    I have learned to never use this phrase with my children or anyone else. We may personally choose to make offerings to The Lord but I would use it only sparingly and only in the context of spiritual direction. We have to be careful that we don’t become arbiters of the degree of others’ sufferings. For me, the Our Father is the perfect prayer that offers God our adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication. Let us always offer that.

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