“If only mortals would learn how great it is to possess divine grace, how beautiful, how noble, how precious. How many riches it hides within itself, how many joys and delights! No one would complain about his cross or about troubles that may happen to him, if he would come to know the scales on which they are weighed when they are distributed to men.” –From the writings of St. Rose of Lima
I read an article recently that said the words thanks, thanksgiving or give thanks are used in the bible 162 times. The word thanks alone, 73 times and thanksgiving 25 times. I guess that means the bible views giving thanks as an important element of Christianity.
But we seem to live in a society of want! Gratitude has left secular society to the extent that we are raising a self-absorbed, entitlement generation.
It’s not until something bad happens; an illness, disease, the death of a loved one. Or, a disaster, flood, tsunami, or wild fire that is so unbelievable, that it shocks us into an understanding of just how good we have it. The richest 300 people in the world have more wealth than the 3 billion poorest. Even the poorest of Americans has more than 80% of the world. We all have reason to give thanks.
As many of you know, gratitude, thanksgiving and forgiveness and the graces that flow through these things are the main themes that I write about both here and in the soon to release book I’ve just completed.
In the past few weeks, several of my friends have had bad health news; a brain tumor, renal failure, a cancer reoccurrence, and a sudden death of a loved one. In each instance, the persons affected spoke words of gratitude. They were thankful that their problem wasn’t as bad as the person in the next hospital bed. They were grateful that the issue was discovered early and the some of the best doctors in the country were available to help. They were grateful, for family and friends who rallied around them in their time of need. And, they were grateful, to a loving and forgiving God for a chance to beat the odds.
Why don’t more people get it? Why does something have to happen to get our attention? Is gratitude simply a cute photo slide that we “like” on a Facebook post and never give another thought? Is it just sappy sentimentality?
Or is it a way of life? Should we, as the Bible says, “give thanks in everything!”
In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. 1Thessalonians 5:18
This week, we celebrated the feast of St. Rose of Lima. In her beautiful writings she speaks of the grace that come to those who are afflicted with suffering, and that suffering is the true stairway to paradise, through the cross and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. As a cancer survivor, I can attest to the grace that flows through suffering, and I am a better person today for having experienced it.
As St. Rose wrote; ‘“ Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: ‘Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven.’ ” –from the writings of St. Rose of Lima
As you read this, offer up some thanks to God for all that you have. Not for what you need, but those things you already have been blessed with.
Lord, thank you for this day, and thank you for everything that you have blessed me with. Make me a good steward of these many blessings and to share my good fortunes with those in need.