Expressing Gratitude

23 Nov

“Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” ~ Henry Van Dyke

Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday because it is very basic: expressing our gratitude to God for all that He has given to us.

We really need to do that.  Too often, we think that we are the ones who somehow achieved, won, or garnered all that we have.  That is so far from the truth, though.  God is the one who blessed us.  He blessed us with our intellect.  He blessed us with our families.  He blessed us with our friends.  He blessed us with our health.  He blessed us with our lives.  And He blessed us with life this day.  Everyone reading this, after all, woke up this morning.  We were given another day of life.

How often do we thank God for that great gift?

I make it a point, each morning when I am opening the church, to stop at the tabernacle and say, “Thank you, Lord, for another day of life.”  I do this because I am very much aware that God is the author of life as well as the decider of when life ends.  For whatever reason, He has decided to give me another day of life.  I want to recognize that and to use the day to the best of my ability so that I can give back to God.

Thanksgiving, then, is a wonderful opportunity to count our blessings.  I often make a mental exercise on the day to list as much as I can recount for which I give thanks.  Family, friends, life, love, health, my priesthood, and a whole host of other things go on my list.  Then, I take a good, hard look at the list and ask myself if I have shown proper thanks for each of the items.

Too often, I see that I have forgotten to thank others for what they mean to me.  Thanksgiving helps me put all of that in perspective and gives me the initiative to render proper thanks to those I may have forgotten.

I thank you for hanging in there with these daily reflections and I hope and pray that you have a peaceful holiday.

FAITH ACTION:  Give thanks to as many people as possible today.  If you can, make it to Mass so that you can also give thanks to God with others in your parish family.