Profound Gratitude

29 Mar

“Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.”  ~ G.B. Stern

This evening begins the holiest three days in the calendar of the Roman Catholic Church: The Triduum, the three days of Easter. They begin with the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday evening, continue with the Liturgy of the Lord’s Passion on Good Friday afternoon, and culminate with the Vigil Mass of Easter on Saturday night.

This evening recalls the institution of the Eucharist. Jesus, the night before He died, had a last meal with His followers. At the meal, He gave them bread to eat and said, “This is my Body.” He also gave them wine to drink and said, “This is the Blood of the New Covenant.” Every time that we gather to celebrate Mass, we remember that sacred meal in which Jesus gives us His very Body and Blood to nourish us on the way to the Kingdom.

Eucharist literally means “to give thanks”. Each time we gather around the altar, we give thanks to God for the great gift of the Eucharist. But, as we gather, we need to think about the implications of our worship. Does our worship change us? Does it bring us closer as a community of believers? Does it make us more loving at home and more tolerant at work? Does it lead us to be more forgiving when others wrong us? Does it make us better, more holy?

Our “thanksgiving” should be highly visible. If we are not changed people as we celebrate and receive the Eucharist, something is wrong. If that is the case, we are “silent gratitude” and not much use to anyone. We should be so changed, so vibrant, that we glow with the love of God and inspire others to come to Him as well.

As you approach the altar at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, remember the call to change that is given to each of us. That call is represented in the “mandatum”, the washing of the feet, on Holy Thursday. Jesus told His disciples that they needed to do what He did for them: to serve.

Gentle, humble servants. Nothing can stop them. Think about some of the greatest saints. They were so humble and made themselves appear to be so unimportant. Yet they were living testaments to God’s love and they changed the world.

Do not give God silent gratitude. Be confident in your faith and live as the witnesses He calls you to be.

FAITH ACTION:  Attempt to embody the very nature of gratitude in everything that you do today, thanking those in your life who always do so much for you.