Saturday, November 23, 2013

Fr. Chuck's Column, Sunday, November 24

It is a time of endings and beginnings. Today liturgically we mark the end of the church year with the celebration of the Feast of Christ the King. Next week begins a new liturgical year with the First Sunday of Advent. Christmas is not far away!

Also this weekend marks the end of the Year of Faith. It was actually a little longer than a calendar year, but now it is over. If you had been meaning to strengthen or increase your faith during the Year of Faith, but somehow never got to it, don’t worry because actually every year is a Year of Faith, and also of Hope, and especially Love. So EVERYDAY is a good time to strengthen your Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Love.

This week also brings us to our wonderful national holiday of THANKSGIVING. Again, every day is an appropriate day for thanksgiving and gratitude. We all have much for which we should be thankful. Every moment of existence, every breath, every harmonious note, every pleasant smell, every pretty sight, every comfortable touch, every delicious taste is all GIFT.

Gratitude opens us to more and more gifts. The more we stop to recognize what we have been given, the more we are conscious of our blessings, the more we give thanks not only for the big blessings but also for the countless myriad of small blessings that are bestowed on us unexpectedly and capriciously, then the more aware we become of just how truly blessed we are. And that awareness is itself one of the best blessings of all.

Learning to live in gratitude is a spiritual discipline. It requires us to go out of our busy pre-occupation with myself, my needs, my desires, my agenda, and pay attention to God’s action in our lives. Gratitude is the proper disposition of a creature (you and me) to our creator (to God). Indeed, there are some theologians who believe that the primordial sin of Adam and Eve was the sin of ingratitude, of taking for granted all the wonderful blessings of the Garden of Eden, and not saying “Thank You” to God. Unfortunately we continue to fall into that fundamental sin today.

So as we celebrate Thanksgiving and give thanks for our blessings, hopefully we will commit ourselves to be more thankful EVERY day, and not just for big blessings, but for all the blessings we receive each day. In this way we become more aware of God’s presence and action in our lives, and open ourselves to receive even more of God’s manifold and generous blessings. Happy Thanksgiving!

God bless!

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