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By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Mar 25, 2013)
I received a letter from a Mr. Miller with a question about the meaning of what we "offer" to God in the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. He wrote: "How can we offer what is not ours? 'Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of your dearly Beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ...'." But these things belong to Jesus, not to us. So how can we offer them?"

This is an excellent and profound question. I think it would be best to divide the answer into three parts.

1) In a sense, He does belong to us, just as we belong to Him; the New Testament says that the relationship of Jesus to His disciples is so close that we literally become His mystical "Body" on earth, and He fills us with His Spirit (see I Cor 12). Thus, when we offer Him to the Father in the chaplet, we are also offering ourselves in and with Him, and He is offering us in and with Himself. Spiritually, we are so enmeshed as to be inseparable from Him (save by unrepented mortal sin, of course).

2) The New Testament also tells us that our relationship with Christ is so close that it is a relationship of spousal love: Christ is the Bridegroom, and the Church is His Bride (see Eph 5:25-32). As in any true spousal relationship, the spouses, in a sense, belong to each other. The two have become "one flesh" (Gen 2:24).

3) That we can, in a sense, offer Christ to the Father is also enshrined in the Catholic liturgical tradition, and manifest in the Mass even today. Look at Eucharistic Prayer #1 in the Roman Missal: "We offer to You, God of glory and majesty, this holy and perfect sacrifice: the bread of life and the cup of salvation" (so we offer what has just been consecrated, and is no longer bread and wine, but now the "bread of life" and the "cup of salvation." In other words, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ).

Or look at Eucharistic Prayer #4: "We offer You His Body and Blood, the acceptable sacrifice which brings salvation to the whole world. Lord, look upon this sacrifice which You have given to Your Church; and gather all who share this one bread and one cup into the one Body of Christ, a living sacrifice of praise" (the reference here to the "acceptable sacrifice" is an allusion to Micah 1:11, which the ancient Church Fathers saw as a prophecy of the Eucharistic Sacrifice — the one pure offering to God — that would be offered one day to God everywhere in the world: "For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering, for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts").

This is surely a great and deep mystery: that we offer up Christ in the Eucharist, and He offers us up, and we offer ourselves in union with Him, and He offers us in union with Himself. But I think it is in line with the implications of Scripture, and made explicit in the liturgical tradition of the Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We cannot fully comprehend such a holy mystery, but we can see in some ways that it makes sense, and we can believe it on the testimony of the Holy Spirit, who inspired the writing of Holy Scripture, and fashioned the liturgical traditions of the Body of Christ down through the ages.

Robert Stackpole, STD, is director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy. His latest book is Divine Mercy: A Guide from Genesis to Benedict XVI (Marian Press). Got a question? E-mail him at [email protected].

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Letlhage - Feb 21, 2019

Thank you for a wonderful explanation and sharing. This question has been around me for sometime now. Today it really hit hard, as I was beginning to pray the chaplet, I just couldn't continue. I feel relieved and grateful for your teaching. Thank you.

shalom - Sep 23, 2017

I've been puzzling over this ever since this chaplet was introduced to me this year. Then it suddenly clicked for me this way: God sent His only Son to us as a sacrifice, to die for us - Jesus was His gift to us for our salvation and the ultimate proof of God's love/mercy for us. This is a gift for all humanity - it depends on us whether we accept it or not. By reciting this chaplet in which we offer up Jesus - we are affirming that we acknowledge God's gift to us and that we accept it. We also console God and apologize for the tremendous rejection He faces from unbelievers and from us believers when we sin - for me this is the sole purpose of this prayer and I dislike the practice of tacking on other personal intentions. How would you feel if someone was apologizing to you and asking for a favor from you at the same time? Love for love - that's basically what God asks from all of humanity since the beginning of time. I'm posting this to remind myself later.

Agnes Maye - Jul 29, 2017

I was just trying to figure this out myself! A wonderful parishioner sent me this link and I am so grateful. I am not a great internet searcher so I was so happy!

songbien - Apr 2, 2013

Dear Dr. Robert.

The quote, "For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering, for my name is great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts" "Micah 1:11" . This is not of Micah but this from Malakhi 1:11 .

regina m. - Mar 25, 2013

Thanks for the great answer.I have a knowledge about what I'am praying to this Novena,but still I need to know more. Thanks again , You are ended guided by the Holy spirit.

Karen - Mar 25, 2013

I was wondering the same thing. Thank you

Wilhelmina - Mar 25, 2013

I think that when we offer the Body and Blood of Christ we are saying that we truly believe that HE offered HIMSELF for us. We are showing our faith in this way.

daniel - Mar 30, 2012

I don't know ... It seems to me it's only valid liturgically for a priest to offer the Body and Blood to Jesus, not a layman. Indeed, that strikes me as one of the reasons why we kneel, and why only the priest is to be standing. So referring to the liturgy is a good argument for priests to say the Divine Mercy chaplet, but not for laymen: It doesn't seem to apply to them.

Likewise regarding the argument of "the Church" as the Bride of Christ praying it, it seems more fitting for someone living a religious life (monk, nun, brother, sister) to be praying it rather than an unconsecrated person, perhaps even praying it on behalf of those unconsecrated people. They seem to be part of the Church in a more complete way than unconsecrated people (they are more 'holy', 'set apart' from the rest of the world).

imma EADM cebu, phils. - Apr 21, 2011

Indeed this article help a lot especially our group giving talks about the Messages and Devotion of The Divine Mercy...I could explain to the listeners farther...Thanks

Bob D. - Apr 15, 2011

By the way, today April 15th is St. Faustina's name day, and Blessed Michael Sopocko's day as well also, St. Claud de Colombier, both priests were the Spiritual Directors of Religious Sisters who were of The Divine Mercy and The Sacred Heart revelations. There is more to this but that is another story. With God there is no coincidences. ;-)

Bob D. - Apr 15, 2011

Thank you for this great insight Bob Stackpole well written - no surprise here. May I add that" the offering" is very basic to aline with all that you mentioned regarding we, the people of God are the Mystical Body of Christ. This means that by virtue of Baptism we are incorporated into the Body of Christ, infused with The Holy Spirit, become adopted sons and daughters of The Eternal Father. Because of our baptism we are a priestly people of God continuing the threefold mission of Christ as priest, prophet, and king, therefore everyone is a priestly people including the ecclesiastical priest of the church. As a priestly people we unite with the ecclesiastical priesthood in offering the suffering and death of Christ to The Father. Therefore, the chaplet is a Eucharistic priestly prayer of the priestly, pilgrim people of God. When we pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy we are uniting with the Eucharistic offering celebrated throughout the world. What Power! Can we imagine if we all prayed this Eucharistic prayer - why, we would transform the world! ;-)

Anna - Apr 13, 2011

It would help may be to realise that 'The Body and Blood , Soul and Divinity ' represents His infinite , trusting love in His human nature , for The Father( with whom He is One in Divinity ) esp.in the midst of the pain and sufferings ; it represents The Father's own love for The Son , in The Spirit that strenghtens The Lord and His Mother , thus negating the enemy claims against us , of our own inadequate love or worse towards God and each other( which also is against The Father , since He loves each of His children !)

May His love be poured into our hearts , to trust in His life giving love at every moment !

beachbum - Mar 29, 2011

Thanks for a great answer to my question. I'm in RCIA and tying to get all this wonderful information so I can understand it better. I was not not trusting or disbelieving just trying to understand. Thanks again God Bless you all.

Gagsman01 - Aug 4, 2009

How can we offer what is not ours?
On the face of it, this question does in some way look profound to the Observer.
But in actual fact holds no credence.
Offering the Body and Blood,Soul and Divinity of Christ is as natural as breathing.
The reason been this.
When Christ ate at the Last Supper he gave us his Body and Blood.
When Christ went to his Crucfixion he gave us his Soul and Divinity that we may not die.
This Gift from Christ is passed down from Generation to Generation.
Christ gave us the Divine Mercy Chaplet Prayer to re-awaken in us the knowledge of those Gifts he bestowed upon us freely long ago.
As Christ said to Saint Faustina.
Whoever prays the Chaplet,Christ will stand between his Father and that person at Death.
Body,Blood,Soul and his Divinity are there for our sake.We must trust in these Gifts if the Sacrifice of our Lord is to mean anything.

Bob Allard - May 21, 2009

I have pondered this question also: "How can we offer what is not ours?" The simple answer is: Jesus, Himself gave us this Chaplet, so how can we question the Lord of Lords? He is instructing us to offer up His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. Who are we to ask about this great gift that He is giving to us in these crucial last days?

A servant of Jesus and Mary - May 15, 2009

WOW! What a profund article and comment.

I had not associated trust with breathing. To actually put this concept into pratice seems doable but difficult. We do not think about breathing-it just happens.

But trust on the other hand, we think, analyze, rationalize, re-think, re-analyze, re-rationalize...eventually diluting trust. If we tried to do this with breathing, we would die.

Not being able to offer the ultimate sacrifice that has already saved mankind seems like we are in need of Divine Mercy.

Gratitude for this great gift can be expressed in the chaplet as well. Divine Mercy is God's way of saying -'Do you understand? I do not want to keep you in time-out.'

All praise be to Jesus Christ in the Divine Mercy, amen. Mary Most Holy help us to truly see the significance of this great message, amen.

M.M. - May 13, 2009

'Love thy God with all your heart, all your might'is what we are to do as per our first commandment .

In our prefallen state , the above could have been as easy as breathing .

Our choosing to not trust in God had made it very difficult - enough to even cause despair.

The Father Himself came through - in The Son , offering up the perfect trust and love that such a good Father is owed and inturn letting us poor and lowly ones to offer up that perfect love and trust - for we are His children and He is a generous Father who want to provide for what we lack !

And that lack often manifests as our unwillingnessand distrust to offer forgiveness , mercy .

"Jesus , I trust in you " we profess and that trust includes our trust in Him, that He loves us and trusts us - in our being able to forgive , to hope and love !

Such a trust from the Infinite God - is it not capable of making martyrs and saints and enough to make up for any pain for the lack of trust and love in human interactions !

Trust given and recieved - in The Spirit of Love , as easy as breathing - our Lord has made it possible !

Praise and honor be !