I heard this advice all too often growing up; my mom’s succinct response to my whines about chores or complaints of small annoyances. Whatever it was, she’d tell me to “offer it up,” to do it as an offering for someone in purgatory so that he or she might make it to heaven more quickly.
An eye roll was usually my response.
But given some recent events, my eyes are finally starting to focus more clearly on the meaning behind my mom’s wise words. Two months ago, my grandmother died. And though in my biased opinion St. Peter should have opened the heavenly gates as soon as her soul departed this earth, I’m a realist. No one is perfect, not even my grandma (she was pretty stubborn), and we’ll all probably have to make a pass through purgatory, whatever that means exactly.
This changed things. I was now playing for someone up there. When I started to complain about something or feel unmotivated, I would think of my grandma, and suddenly, washing the dishes, running an errand or handling some knee pain didn’t seem so taxing. I actually wanted to take on these tasks, for her.
By now, I know my grandma is experiencing the supreme happiness of heaven. She wasn’t that stubborn. But I also know there are other people’s grandmothers, fathers, sisters, etc., up there whom I’ve never met, and I continue to offer it up for them.
Will you, too?
I’m sure we’d all want those after us to do the same.
Featured photo: Gino Santa Maria/photoxpress.com