As Catholics we have a tradition of offering up our day to God each morning so that everything we do and experience will be for Him. Although it is now an old tradition, not all Catholics know about it. I was surprised to learn when speaking with a few Catholics I know that they had never heard of this devotion.
The origins of this prayer may go back to St. Paul who wrote: “Whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31) Beginning in the 1840s, the Jesuits have encouraged people to pray a morning offering prayer through their organization, the Apostleship of Prayer.
There are many versions of this prayer that you can use, or you can make up your own. Usually in the morning offering, all our prayers, works, suffering, and joys are given to God, in union with the sacrifice of the Mass, and through the intercession of the Blessed Mother. The morning offering by the Apostleship of Prayer offers the day for the intentions of Jesus’ Sacred Heart and for the intentions of the Pope, but we are free to add our own intentions. We can also ask for God’s help in all we do that day, as the Franciscans do in their morning offering. As I feel very called to pray for priests, I offer up every day for priests. I have also offered up my day for a friend or relative who was sick and for people I was close to who had recently died. I also ask each day for God’s help and an increase in virtues.
According to Blessed Duns Scotus, our actions must be offered to God, explicitly or implicitly, in order to be meritorious. The morning offering makes that implied reference since you are offering all your good works, thoughts, and actions to God.
The morning offering is not meant to be a substitute for time dedicated to prayer but is a part of the Catholic tradition of transforming all our daily tasks into prayer. The morning offering is an ideal prayer for people who are busy all day but who want to “pray unceasingly” as well as for people who are very ill and unable to pray long formal prayers but want to remain united with God and give their suffering to Him. In his book, Lift Up Your Heart, Archbishop Fulton J Sheen wrote about “sanctifying the moment,” teaching that accepting and offering up all that we do and all that happens each moment, including trials, can help us to become saints. He wrote “We can take whatever He gives us, and we can make the supernatural best of it. The typist at her desk working on routine letters, the street cleaner with his broom, the farmer tilling the field with his horses, the doctor bending over a patient, the lawyer trying his case, the student with his books, the sick in their isolation and pain, the teacher drilling her pupils, the mother dressing her children – every such a task, every such duty can be ennobled and spiritualized if it is done in God’s Name.”
The morning offering is our promise to sanctify the moments of our day. Our entire lives are meant to be offered to God. The morning offering is a way to renew this offering each day, a reminder that we are created to love and serve God in every moment, and in every circumstance in our daily lives.
Traditional Daily Offering from Apostleship of 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, 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.
A Franciscan Morning Offering
Almighty Lord God, You have brought us to the beginning of another day. Strengthen us with your grace, so that during this day we may not fall into any sin, but may direct all our words, thoughts, and actions to accomplish your holy will, through Christ our Lord. Amen.