Speak and act with the intention of glorifying God


As a fun Christmas gift, I ordered socks with the image of Our Lady of Grace for friends who are members of the Immaculate Heart of Mary religious community. What I didn’t expect from the website where I ordered the socks (catholiccompany.com) is that ever since, an email with the Morning Offering, a quote from or about the saint of the day, and a brief meditation arrive in my email inbox. It turns out that my little gift has become a gift that keeps on giving.

Each morning as I pray the Morning Offering, I am reminded that everything we do or experience can be efficacious when offered to God. Not only is it a wonderful way to begin each day, but it reminds me to pause throughout the day, and consider if what I’m saying and doing is a worthy gift.

When offered to the Sacred Heart of Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, every action has the potential to be holy because they have already been blessed early in the day. Intention is important because it’s not about what we do, but the love with which we do them that glorifies God. This was at the heart of St. Therese’s spirituality.

Intentionality also reminds me of advice that Thomas Merton offered to writers. He claimed that when writers write for the glory of God, their words reach many people and bring them joy. If they write to impress others or for money, they might make a bit of noise in the world for a short while but are soon forgotten. However, and worst of all, is that if they write for themselves, they will be quite disgusted and even go so far as to wish they were dead.

I can’t help but wonder if we couldn’t apply the same mindset to what we say and do. So many of our words or actions may appear trivial or simply part of everyday life. However, when we offer them to God, all our intentions become a means of grace. On the other hand, if every word or action is performed for our own gratification, they are as good as dead because they add nothing to our spiritual life.

Jesus said we are to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect. Obviously, it’s impossible for us to achieve perfection on our own, but with God’s grace, anything is possible. When we offer everything to God, he unites our thoughts, words and deeds with his saving grace and purifies us in the process in a way that only God can do.

If this sounds too good to be true, consider that the God of the universe became one of us to teach us how to live and love by dying on the cross.

When we begin the day by praying the Morning Offering and end it with an examination of conscience and a sincere act of contrition, they are bookends that hold together all we say and do for the glory of God and for the salvation of souls.

One of the quotes that appeared in my email inbox the other day is from St. Basil the Great who wrote:

“When you sit down to eat, pray. When you eat bread, do so thanking Him for being so generous to you. If you drink wine, be mindful of Him who has given it to you for your pleasure and as a relief in sickness. When you dress, thank Him for His kindness in providing you with clothes. When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore Him who in His wisdom has arranged things in this way. Similarly, when the sun goes down and when it rises, when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know, love and praise their Creator.”

We may not consciously lift our every thought, word and deed to God as many of the saints have done, but it’s certainly a goal worth striving for, and in the meantime, we can begin each day by praying:

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month. Amen.

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