I understand many of you are very hot. This is a fantastic opportunity to bring yourself into communion with the Church Suffering, better known as the Poor Souls in Purgatory. You know what I'm going to say now, so let's say it all together, shall we?
"Offer............ it .................. up!"
If the Poor Souls in Purgatory are not your cup of tea, you can offer up your misery for the 87 year old lady roasting in a nursing home in Dallas.
Or, you can concentrate on how hot Jesus must have been dragging his enormously heavy cross beam up the street. He would have been hot even if it wasn't actually hot outside. But today, in Baghdad, which is not far from where Jesus lived, the temperature is 115.
Some of my readers have taken exception with my admonishment that you can't offer your suffering up retroactively. I stand by my warning. I don't get why you don't get it.
Perhaps you can offer up your past suffering even though all you did at the time was grouse. I think you shouldn't.
Offering up your suffering is all about your state of mind during the offering up part. It's about being in communion with the suffering of the world, the suffering of the Poor Souls in Purgatory, and/or the suffering of Jesus Himself. Take your pick. The idea here is to build the character of your soul. How do you do that if you are whining and moaning and then later say, "oh...all that yowling? That was for you, God."
God says....thanks ever so.
Let's say I decide to bake you a birthday cake because you are my friend and I love you. But I hate cooking. Hate it. So the whole time I'm baking you this cake I am miserable and angry. I'm complaining about what a mess I'm making of my kitchen. I call the recipe stupid. I'm slamming the cabinets, I'm cursing you for having a stupid birthday, I blame you for the third degree burn on my thumb because, since I never cook, I don't realize that if the pot holder is wet, the heat will transfer right through the pad to my fingers. Eventually, my whole family (all eight children and Dad) flee the house so as not to get slapped by the wet rag of my frustration and anger. Now I'm mad that Dad will waste money buying all the kids ice cream that they shouldn't even be having so close to the dinner that he should get back here and start cooking, since he has to do all the cooking.
I'm so disgusted with the whole process I only ice the top of the cake. I throw on a candle.
Then I bring it to your party. You say, "Oh! You baked me a cake!" And I smile proudly and say, "It was my pleasure!"
What if someone than gave you the video tape of me making the cake and cursing you and your lousy birthday the whole time? "Geez, Louise," you would think. "Don't do me any favors."
Well, God has the video tape.
I just don't see how one can drop the 8 oz. can of Del Monte tomatoes on one's bare toes, take the Lord's name in vain, feel self pity and put upon, and then later offer that up. Offer what up?
The idea here is to drop the 8 oz. can of Del Monte tomatoes on your toe and, whatever else you may be feeling, find it in yourself to do one or all of the following:
1. Realize that a lot of people are in constant pain all the time.
2. Keep in mind that a lot of people can't feel anything when they drop the 8 oz. can of Del Monte tomatoes because they have no feeling from the neck down.
3. Remember that some people don't have toes. They have a hard time balancing long enough to get the tomatoes out of the pantry.
4.Get it in your brain that, for the Poor Souls in Purgatory, dropping the 8 oz. can on their toe would be bliss compared to being on fire all the time.
5. Meditate on the fact that Jesus never had canned tomatoes. If tomatoes were out of season, He was out of luck.
6. Live with the idea that if you didn't feel pain, you'd have no appreciation for pleasure whatsoever.
7. Take into account that God loves you and the pain of being separated from God is much worse than dropping tomatoes on your toes, canned or otherwise.
Now, smile and say, "I don't mind, God. You're really good to me. I'll take this one for the team."
I fail to see how one does any of that retroactively, except that perhaps on some level you accept the suffering that you had as having been a good thing and thank God for it then.
Better than nothing. But not the spirit of the thing.