In the middle of summer, when the sun is hot and the days are long, the dandelions grow uncontrollably. For most adults, these pesky yellow weeds challenge our patience as we strive to keep them out of our yards. However, to children, dandelions are bright and cheery, just waiting to be plucked and given to Mom.
And what do moms do with a fist full of dandelions? Of course, we arrange them neatly and carefully in a vase and position them in a place of honor in our home. We receive our child’s gift with tenderness and affection, followed by hugs and kisses and ice cold lemonade.
Recently, this image came to mind as I contemplated what it means to “offer it up.” But instead of being the mom receiving the bouquet of weeds, I was the child, offering my small sacrifices to God the Father.
Yes, in so many ways, I am the little child pulling up the weeds in my own heart. Arranging them just so. And offering them to my Father in Heaven.
I imagine myself raising my poor little offering to Almighty God in Heaven. I see myself so small and Him so majestic.
I release my offering, out of my possession, and see it head heavenward.
“Let my prayer be directed as incense in Thy sight, O Lord. The lifting up of my hands as evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 140:2)
And the God of the Universe receives my offering—receives me—with the attentive kindness of a Father, who loves and delights in His daughter. And I am moved by Love, because how can Someone so powerful, so incredible, so strong receive what little I have to offer?
Offerings Made New
As this scene continues to unfold in my holy imagination, I realize:
Here on earth, each tiny bouquet of dandelions I receive from my children dies rather quickly. That is simply the nature of earthly, finite creation.
But the pathetic little offerings I give to the Father ascend into the eternal realm of Heaven. And because of this, God transforms them and redeems them. He makes them new, long-lasting, and far more beautiful than I could ever fathom. He uses my offerings for my goodness or for another’s. And this glorifies His will and work in the world.
But in order for the Father to receive my weeds, I have to offer them to Him first. Only when I offer can the Father receive and do something new.
And so, offering and receiving go hand in hand.
Because when I do offer—whether it’s readily or hesitantly—just as a mom receives the weedy bouquet with gentle kindness, so does my Heavenly Father receive even the merest of offerings.
Even more so.
Because God knows how hard the offering can be. Even the smallest weed in the garden of my heart can feel impossible to surrender to Him.
Pain in the Offering
Why are some things easy to offer to the Lord? We can give them freely, like a wide-eyed child running with abandon to present her little gift to her Father.
But some things are hard to hand over. In fact, there can even be pain in the offering.
Deep down, however, we know that the hard things are what we truly need to offer to the Lord. It could be something significant, such as a relationship, a five-year plan, or the longing for a child. Or it could be something that seems foolish, such as the lazy habit of scrolling through social media, the craving for sugar, or the propensity to gossip.
No matter what it is—big or small—the offering is hard.
But only after we offer the oblation can God truly heal it, restore it, transform it, make it into something new. Do with it what He wills.
Unite Our Offerings to Christ
But how do I offer what seems too hard? How do I uproot that strong, stubborn weed that seems impossible to extract with just my own bare hands?
One Sunday at Mass, while I was following along with my Missal, I paused and remained praying with a passage that is said by the priest shortly after the Consecration.
“We most humbly beseech Thee, Almighty God, to command that these offerings be borne by the hands of Thy holy Angel to Thine altar on high in the sight of Thy Divine Majesty …”
I imagined the Angel gliding over the entire congregation. Starting from the back of the Church and moving forward, he gathered the prayers and oblations each person was offering in union with Christ’s perfect offering on Calvary, on the very altar that was before me.
The wayward child
The cancer diagnosis
The financial stress
The prayers for family
The desire to love Him more
The Angel reached the altar and gathered the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ made manifest in the Holy Eucharist, and with all of our little offerings, he brought it to God the Father, who received it ALL.
And as God received it, the priest continued to pray:
“… that as many of us as at this altar … may be filled with every heavenly blessing and grace.”
For weeks, each Sunday, I was enamored by this one little prayer of the Mass. Because “the Angel, the messenger between us and God, [goes] before God with his hands full of the powerful supplication contained in the Host and offer[s] it to the Father.” (Roman Catholic Daily Missal, 1962)
When we make an offering to the Lord and unite it with His Son’s perfect sacrifice, God transforms it, and we have the incredible privilege of becoming part of His redemptive work.
What a consoling meditation! One that renews my courage to “offer it up,” especially when it’s hard. Our offerings are important to the Lord For when He receives them, He transforms them into something new and life giving and good.
O Lord, thank you for accepting my offering with the utmost care. Transform it; transform me. Redeem it; redeem me. Give me the grace to not want it back, but rather to hope for the new life that awaits me in the offering. Amen.