Last Monday, on the flight back to Milwaukee from Los Angeles, I was able to read Pope Benedict's Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Vebum Domini" or "The Word of the Lord." A Synod of Bishops meets periodically and the last such meeting was in October, 2008. In 2010 Pope Benedict issued his reflections based on the planning documents and discussions of the Synod. That's what "Verbum Domini" is.
Three passages of that document speak very well to the "spirituality of offering."
1. "In stressing faith's intrinsic summons to an ever deeper relationship with Christ, the word of God in our midst, the Synod also emphasized that this word calls each one of us personally, revealing that life itself is a vocation from God. In other words, the more we grow in our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus, the more we realize that he is calling us to holiness in and through the definitive choices by when we respond to his love in our lives, taking up tasks and ministries which help to build up the Church" (#77).
Our lives are a response. Each of us is called to respond to the great love that God has shown us when he offering everything to and for us. Our response depends upon the depth of our relationship with God. If our relationship is superficial, our response and our lives will be superficial. If our relationship with God is deep, our response and our lives will have depth.
2. "In the word of God proclaimed and heard, and in the sacraments, Jesus says today, here and now, to each person: 'I am yours, I give myself to you'; so that we can receive and respond, saying in return: 'I am yours'" (#51).
Jesus gives himself to us totally as the Word-made-flesh who continues to give himself to us totally in the Eucharist. In our Daily Offering we commit ourselves to making a return of love for love.
3. "The Gospel, on the other hand, reminds us that every moment of our life is important and must be lived intensely..." (#99).
Every moment of our lives is either a "yes" to God or a "no." Every moment either builds the civilization of love or contributes to the culture of death, the consequence of sin. Every moment can be lived intensely because it can be united to Christ's perfect offering on the cross and in the Mass.
Yesterday I was the guest spiritual director for Relevant Radio's daily call-in spiritual direction show, "The Inner Life." The focus of the program was "Marian Devotions." It was a lively show with several people calling in to share the story of the role that various devotions and prayers to Mary had played in their lives. A man named Dan talked about how had once questioned prayer to Mary and its significance. One day in prayer he heard in his heart these words: "In my 'Yes,' find yours."
I wrote those words down. Mary is the greatest example we have of responding totally to God's love. She said "Yes" with no "ifs," "ands," or "buts." In her "Yes" we can truly find the response to God's love that we want to make.