Itís one of the most unbearable sounds that
I have ever known: the blaring of my alarm clock. Itís 6:30
and, yet again, I am jolted from sleep by that intolerable
ďGotta find that snooze button and hit it...hard.Ē
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
Iím too tired to care. My eyes are strained and weary. Itís
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 hasnít changed.
I see the Morning Offering as a prayer of new beginnings. Derived
from the League of the Sacred Heart of Jesusí ďApostleship of Prayer,Ē it was
begun in 1844 in Vals, France. For me, its origin only goes so far. The significance,
however, travels much further.
Simply, itís 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 Iím 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, Iím 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-progressóa kind of graceful wreck.
God knows this and, quite often, has caught me when Iíve lost my footing. And
Lord knows, I fall often.
A great deal can happen in a dayís 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 Godómy way of saying, with tired eyes, a willing heart
and a sea of irritated drivers all around me, ďGood morning.Ē†††††††††
Next month: Act of Contrition