Offering up our sufferings for our brothers and sisters

On the feast of St. Francis, Pope Francis issued a new encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, calling for the building up of the one human family. “We were created for a fulfilment that can only be found in love,” the pope wrote. “We cannot be indifferent to suffering; we cannot allow anyone to go through life as an outcast.”

As we focus on the corporal works of mercy this month, we can see how embracing the sufferings of life can be a powerful means of uniting us to Jesus Christ and, through him, to one another.

Whenever my siblings and I complained, my mother would say, “Offer it up.” What does that mean?

A prayer I learned back then, which remains foundational for me, is the Morning Offering. It shows us how to offer up our individual sufferings for our own good and for the benefit of our brothers and sisters.

These are the essential theological components of the prayer:

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary

As with all Christian prayer and life, we are drawn into communion with Jesus. Mary, our mother, is always ready to facilitate a greater closeness with her son.

I offer you my works, prayers, joys and sufferings of this day

Everything Jesus did was out of love for the Father and for us. His final and greatest act of obedience and love was to freely offer his life for our redemption. Through our participation in and reception of the Eucharist, we are called to offer every aspect of our life to God in imitation of Jesus. This is our means of being conformed more fully to him.

For the intentions of your Sacred Heart
In union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

When we consciously join every moment of our life to that of the Risen Jesus, we grow in our love not only for the Lord, but for our brothers and sisters as well.

In reparation for my sins and those of my associates

Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection healed the world’s wound of sin, yet we continue to sin, and need recourse to this never-ending source of grace and healing. We cannot take away our own sin, and yet making reparation for sin is always necessary. A healthy and honest admission that we are sinners in need of mercy helps us remain humble before others and grateful before God.

In particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month

Offering our daily life for the intentions of the Holy Father is a powerful way to be in communion with him and with the Universal Church.

My friends, let us strive for greater unity, to live as the one family of God. Our faith empowers us to employ even those experiences that could otherwise isolate us to build up the body of Christ, the family of God.

Please be assured of my ongoing prayers for all of you in these difficult and trying days.

Northwest Catholic - November 2020

Archbishop Paul D. Etienne

Archbishop Paul D. Etienne was named Archbishop of Seattle on September 3, 2019 by Pope Francis. Read his blog at

El Arzobispo Paul D. Etienne fue nombrado Arzobispo de Seattle el 3 de septiembre de 2019 por el Papa Francisco. Lea su blog en: