I offer You
the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity
of Your dearly beloved Son
our Lord Jesus Christ
in atonement for our sins and for those of the whole world.
This prayer is likely familiar to you. But in case it’s your first time seeing it: these are the words prayed in the Divine Mercy chaplet at the beginning of each of its five decades. As such, it’s a fairly important prayer in the Divine Mercy devotion.
That said, it can also be very difficult to take in, to really grasp. It clearly touches upon some deep mysteries of the faith. Having just celebrated the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, I’d like to touch on just one of these deep and confusing mysteries. Briefly put, it is this: how can it be possible that we should offer Christ’s own Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity to the Father?
How can we offer anything that is not ours?
Does this mean that we actually possess the very Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ? That we have it, and are able to offer it?
Well… incredibly… yes! When, in His Passion, Jesus suffered and died on the cross, His self-offering was not exclusively to God the Father in atonement for our sins. His saving work was not merely a legal one-and-done “substitution” form of redemption. His sacrifice has also become a never-ending gift to us of His own New Life. He has given His whole self to us – and He has done this in a few, overlapping ways. For the sake of brevity, I’ll just mention three.
First – we are given His Body and Blood as our own new body and blood. As St. Paul says, our old self is crucified with Him, and we are raised in His own Body (Rom 6:3-11). We enter into a new life in His image, re-created according to Him. As C. S. Lewis puts it, we are to become “little Christ[s],” (Mere Christianity, Book IV, Chp.7) our flesh created according to His Flesh, His Blood running through our veins.
Second – in a mystical way, we actually become His Body. Again, as St. Paul writes, we are all members of the Body of Christ (1 Cor 12:27). In this way, in offering ourselves to the Father, we simultaneously offer Christ’s own Body to Him, united in the Son’s self-gift to the Father.
And third – we become newly created as the Bride of Christ, the Church (see Eph 5:25-27, 32). At the foot of the cross, we are created out of the side of Christ, the New Adam, just like Eve was taken out of the side of the first Adam. We are joined with Him as one Flesh. So, sharing in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, we share in His mission, and offer ourselves together with Him for the mission – as a gift to the Father for the salvation of the world.
May we treasure this incredible Gift so freely given to us by God! And may we learn to be better stewards of it, more and more, as we learn just what He has called us to – nothing less than to be sharers of Himself, His mission, and His life.
(To learn more about the sacramental aspect to this question, take a look at Dr. Robert Stackpole’s helpful article: http://thedivinemercy.org/news/story.php?NID=2444)