St. Ignatius asserted that the
essence of sin is ingratitude. A great
theologian of the past, Meister Eckhart, commenting on prayer, asserted that if
the only thing we did in prayer was to “ thank God” that would be enough! Shakespeare poignantly noted in one of his
plays: “More painful than a serpent’s
tooth is that of an ungrateful child.”
In the healing of the ten lepers,
only one of those healed came back to Jesus to render Him thanksgiving, and it
was a foreigner—a Samaritan. Jesus marveled
that only one returned to give Him thanks and it was this foreigner. (Lk.
The third Thursday of November, is
set aside in the United States to give thanks, “Thanksgiving day”. Eating, drinking, resting and enjoying life—all
of these are part and parcel of “Thanksgiving day”, but sometimes we miss the
real meaning of that day and forget to render thanks to God.
Indeed all that we have in our lives,
food, clothing, shelter, time, treasure and talents, not to mention the
supernatural gifts bestowed on us are gifts flowing from the loving and Providential
hand of a father that loves us so much that He even gave us His only begotten
Son Jesus who shed His Blood and died on the cross for our salvation. How thankful we should be!
The only thing that we have not
received from God is what we have chosen freely of our own accord and that is
SIN! This is our own doing and our own “undoing”
and it is crass INGRATITUDE!
EUCHARIST--- the word comes from
Greek and means “Thanksgiving”. Mass is
really “Thanksgiving” for the Gift of the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of
Jesus, who gives Himself to us in Holy Communion. What a sublime, ineffable, extraordinary
Gift! Let us chime in with the
Psalmist: “Give thanks to the Lord for
He is good, for His love endures forever.”
In the Contemplation to attain love,
Ignatius insists that we look to above; from without, from within, as well as
everywhere, to be keenly aware of God’s overflowing Gifts to us. This goodness of God should fill our hearts
with joy, love and gratitude.
On a natural, artistic, human, but
especially supernatural plane, we should be cognizant and grateful to God for
all. Once again, with the Psalmist, let
our hearts resound with joy: “Give
thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His love endures forever.”
Let us go through a list of the
supernatural gifts that God has given to us and offer Him heartfelt gratitude!
BAPTISM. Review prayerfully all the
graces that came to you in the moment that you were baptized: the indwelling of
the Blessed Trinity, the three theological virtue so faith, hope and charity,
the four moral/cardinal virtue of Justice, Temperance, Prudence and Fortitude,
the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, Sanctifying grace—Friendship with God,
freedom from the devil, a right to receive the other Sacraments, a right to
inherit eternal life (heaven), receiving Mary as your Mother. Unworthy of this Sacrament and totally
unmerited on my part, still God gave this to us out of His Infinite love. Eternal thanks of Lord for your goodness!
BELIEF IN GOD.
At an alarming pace, atheism is spreading like wildfire throughout the
world poisoning countless hearts.
Imagine waking up in the morning and having no belief in God--- all
materialism, death and then evaporating into oblivion for all eternity! Hopelessness to say the least! But no!
Your belief in a loving and Providential God, serves as a buoy and support to struggle through even the darkest
nights, tempestuous storms, and thick , dense interior thickets. “The Lord is
my Shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.” (Psalm 23) These words triggers
hope to surmount all obstacles. “If God
is with us, who can be against us?”
EUCHARIST/BREAD OF LIFE. (Jn. 6). What
incredible joy the knowledge that the sun will rise at dawn. Spiritually, the “Spiritual sun” will rise at
the consecration of the Sacred Host in Mass when the priest repeats the same
words that Jesus commanded him to say at the Last Supper: “Take and eat this is
my Body; take and drink this is my Blood. Do this in memory of me.” If in desolation at night, call to mind that
the Eucharist, the Bread of life, “The Spiritual dawning” shall break on high
in Mass. That “Sun” will descend into the depths of your soul in Holy
Communion. Eucharist= thanksgiving!
Lord, a million thanks!
CONFESSION/RECONCILIATION. Even though weaknesses beset me, even though
the just man falls seven times a day, even though my sins be as red as scarlet, I have the firm belief, and anchor
of hope in Jesus’ most lofty attribute--- His Divine Mercy. In concrete, the Father of the Prodigal Son
is always waiting with open arms to receive me after I fall, in the Sacrament
of His mercy, Confession. (Lk.15). Jesus
I trust in you!
SAINTS. In a world filled with egotism, selfishness,
anger and bitterness and crushing loneliness, we are really never alone!
Why? Thousands upon thousands of friends
are at my beck and call in any moment, at any time and place. Who? These are the saints. Frustrating as it is when you call a friend and
busy, again, busy, still again… busy—never, when you call upon the saints! They are always ready to listen, to respond
and to help and to befriend you in your temptations, sadness and loneliness! What a blessing to belong to the “Family” of
the Catholic Church! There is always
somebody at home!
ANGELS. Not only are the saints, friends always
attentive to our heart’s longing, but also the angels. In the book of Tobit, the Angel Raphael
accompanies young Tobias to his destiny, and future spouse, helping Tobias to
overcome many almost insurmountable difficulties. Your Guardian angel, St. Michael the
archangel, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael are waiting for you to call upon them. Even more, the many choirs of angels
patiently await your prayer: angels, archangels, virtues, powers, dominations,
cherubim and seraphim. We are surrounded
by a cloud of witnesses ready to help us, both the saints and the angels!
THE TRUTH REVEALED. Imagine living each day in which the truth
changes according to one’s feelings, like the weather. How disheartening that
must be! As a member of the Catholic
faith, we are not blown by the winds of changing fashions or modes. On the contrary, we believe that
Absolute Truth exists in Jesus who said that He is the Way, the Truth and the
Life. He manifests and expresses His
truth in His Word, the Bible, Tradition and Revelation, interpreted by the
Papacy (the Holy Father) and the Magisterium, the Official teaching office of
the Church. How consoling to know, beyond the shadow of doubt, that the Truth
does exist in Jesus Christ and His Church!
In any catholic church throughout the world, and it might be the
poorest, most simple humble church or chapel, rest assured, there is a
Tabernacle and in the Tabernacle is living the “King of Kings and the Lord of
Lords”, that is Jesus, the Son of the living God. He is always waiting for you to come and to
visit Him. “Come to me all of you who
are weary and I will give you rest… (Mt 11: 28-30). He promised with His last words: “I will be
with you always, even until the end of the world.”
HEAVEN. Jesus promised heaven! This mere thought should elicit sentiments of
hope and inexpressible joy in the depths of our hearts. “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has
it entered into the mind of man, the wonderful things that God has prepared for
those who love Him.” In moments of desolation, lift up your gaze to heaven
where the Lord Jesus, the angels and saints and Mary are waiting for you. Patience,
in this life, heaven is forever!
10.MARY: OUR LIFE, OUR
SWEETNESS AND OUR HOPE. Remember the
encouraging words of the great Saint Augustine:
“If you were to put all the love of all the mothers of all time
together, then the love that Mary has for you individually is far greater than
all those loves.” A mother’s love for a
child is indeed strong. Many mothers would be willing to die for their child.
Mary’s love is much more pure, noble, strong, constant, and reliable! Returning from death and appearing to St.
John Bosco, St. Dominic Savio asked St. John Bosco, what he thought brought
greatest joy to him in life. After several attempts and failures, Savio
revealed to St. John Bosco that his greatest joy on earth was his tender love
for the Blessed Virgin Mary. Before disappearing, Savio exhorted St. John
Bosco, the great saint of the youth, to promote devotion to Mary. Indeed, he
did under the title of Our Lady Help of Christians!
Prayer has many forms, expressions
and dimensions. One of the hallmarks of true prayer is that of Thanksgiving.
St. Ignatius, in the contemplation to attain love, encourages us to call to
mind the many blessings that come from God. From above, on earth in all that
surrounds us, from graces within, from the Church established as source of
countless blessings, our hearts should abound in thanksgiving. “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, His
love endures forever.”