Paul L. Caron

Sunday, May 16, 2021

My Mom’s Christian Lesson: ‘Offer It Up'

Wall Street Journal op-ed: My Mom’s Christian Lesson: ‘Offer It Up', by Mike Kerrigan (Hunton Andrews Kurth, Charlotte, NC):

Throughout my adolescence, my Irish Catholic mother said three important words to me more times than I can count. I don’t mean “I love you,” although she did frequently tell me that, even when I wasn’t very lovable. It was three different words: “Offer it up.” ...

Donna Kerrigan was inviting her eldest son to participate in redemptive suffering, uniting life’s daily setbacks to Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to serve his purposes in the world. Hers was a practical mysticism designed to ensure nary a drop of suffering—never in short supply in our broken world—go to waste.

I cannot say I immediately understood the spiritual habit she encouraged and, much more important, practiced. ... Nor do I practice it perfectly now—knowing and doing are two very different things. I’m among the first to hat-tip the Man Upstairs when all is going well and I have, as Mark Twain put it, the calm confidence of a Christian with four aces. But rarely do I recall my private duty when I’m dealt a lesser hand.

This is a shame. If I “offered it up” a little more, I’m convinced the world would be remade anew. Over a century ago, G.K. Chesterton was reportedly asked by a British journalist what is wrong with the world today. His reply? “I am.” I can change nothing in this world except myself, and that is plenty.

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