If it takes Thanksgiving Day to make you focus on giving thanks to God, there is a severe deficiency in your attitude toward God, in your prayer life and generally in the gratitude you feel and express toward all the people living around you. You must ever bear in mind the sweetest sounds that we long to hear many times every day.
We never tire of hearing the dulcet, powerful ring of “I love you!” Overall, this satisfies our emotional hunger and thirst more than any other words, especially since “God is love and all who love abide in God and God in them.” (1 John 4:16)
“Forgive me!” and “I forgive you!” run a hard second to “I love you!” for the greatest sounds in our lives. When we have hurt someone or when we have been hurt by another, then we seek the sound of humility and mercy in forgiveness even more than we need to hear the wondrous words of love.
While it is arguable which are the next expressions that we need to hear most from each other, we might want to lobby hard for gratitude and appreciation. When we say “Thanks!”, we are affirming to others that we appreciate their person, their words in support of us or something they did for us. Thanks to and appreciation of the one who gives to us or does for us are inseparable and always cherished.
As Father Lambert said in our Thanksgiving Mass, “If you seek happiness, be content with what you have.” Holy Ghost Church member Lena Charles elaborated on the same thought on the eve of Thanksgiving when she mused, “We are so slow and hesitant to give thanks for all God gives us every single day – so many things that rise to the level of minor miracles! We miss so much in life by not thanking God constantly!” Yes, God wants to be thanked just as we humans want to be thanked.
The occasions and opportunities for thanking God are innumerable. To awaken and say, as Larry Martinez of blessed memory said every day, “I’m still on top of the grass,” is a privilege beyond measure. Larry’s wholesome attitude was powerfully reflected in his peerless guitar rendition of “One day at a time sweet Jesus.”
We call it the Morning Offering, that wonderful prayer that offers all that we think, say, do, suffer or enjoy to God’s will and glory. However, giving thanks to God is but an extension of the Morning Offering of our living and breathing – everything!
All night, all day, waking or sleeping, from the air that we breathe, to the water and food we ingest, at work, at play or leisure, we must never be too busy to say, “Thank you, Lord! Thanks! I just want to say, Thank you, Lord!” We should give thanks so often that it becomes a habit, a benign addiction throughout our waking hours.
It is altogether fitting to quote here from my September 26, 2016 column about the Magic Bank Account. Each morning your bank deposits $86,400 in your private account for your use. You are expected to make use of every dollar each day, for, when the day ends, your magic account for that day disappears. Fortunately, the bank deposits another $86,400 the next morning in your Magic Bank Account. Now waste no time! Splurge! Spend it all on your family, friends, the poor, humanitarian causes, even yourself! Of course, our Magic Bank Account is the 86,400 seconds of life God grants us every day. More precious than cash, the time is at our command.
Thanks, Lord, for my invaluable Magic Bank Account that you replenish each day!
With spiritual connection and transfer, there should be a friendly competition between “Thank you!” and “God bless you!” to see which one is expressed the more frequently to our sisters and brothers. Neither one stands to lose here. One sister in Christ asked me recently, “Why do you say ‘God bless you’ so often?” With my hands on her shoulders and my eyes locked into hers, I answered, “Because I do want God to bless you as God has always blessed you, and even more now and forevermore!”
Thanks, Lord, for those sisters and brothers who can say “I love you,” “I cherish you” and “Thank you” in a card such as a friend’s: I’m a better person, the world is a better place, and life is a greater thing – all because of you. Another way of saying it, “You’re a God-sent person, sent to become part of my family.”
In almost the same breath, we should heap an endless “Thank you!” on all our sisters, brothers and friends, even our enemies for the good they think, say and do for us. And do not hesitate to thank others for even the slightest things, for we cannot fail by excess here, but only by too little and too late.
The best of attitudes, the healthiest of habits, the sure road to holiness and contentment, is “Thanks, Lord,” “Thanks, sister,” “Thanks, brother,” “Thanks, everyone of you.” “God bless you.” “I love you and I thank God for you.”
Rev. Jerome LeDoux, SVD
“God is love, and all who abide in love abide in God and God in them.” (1 John 4:16)