Dear Friends in Christ:
God is so good to us! He is so wonderful that it is challenging for us to adequately express our appreciation. As the Psalmist exclaims, “How can I repay the Lord for all the good he has done for me?” (Ps 116). Yet despite our human inadequacy, it is absolutely necessary for us to try and to never give up. Don’t you agree? I hope so. Because God is so good and generous and our need to thank Him so great, the opportunities to offer our love and gratitude are also plentiful. We should praise and thank God and show him our love at home, at work, at school, at play, at rest and most especially at church. We can show our love and reverence for God in everything that we do at all times and in all places (Ps 34). Now, of course, we do not express our reverence and praise in exactly the same manner in every situation. At work, we show our reverence, love and gratitude by our conduct and our attitude. We don’t gossip about our co-workers or complain about every small upset or mistake. We perform an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. We carry ourselves with dignity and self-respect and treat others in the same manner. We take pride in a job well done and work to help make everyone successful. We don’t settle for just getting the job done, but we strive to do our best. We remember to pray for our co-workers, their families and our customers and even our competition. We pray in thanksgiving for our opportunity to work and ask for God’s help and blessings each day on our efforts. In doing these simple things, we give glory and praise to God.
At home, we praise God and show our gratitude not only in our own prayers, but in making sure that God has the central place in our family life. We keep family prayer as part of our daily conversation and routine. We show and teach our kids that God always comes first even before school work or soccer practice or being tired. We give glory to God when we share our faith with those whom we love by bearing witness to God and his goodness in our words and actions. We revere the Lord when we care for our most precious gifts – our spouse and our children – by caring for their spiritual as well as their physical and emotional well-being. We show our gratitude to God in the manner in which we care for our possessions and acknowledge that everything we possess is a blessing from the Lord. This includes not only our home and material possessions but also our physical, intellectual and emotional health. Abuse of our bodies, minds and souls (drugs, alcohol, gluttony, illicit sex, pornography, laziness, etc.) is disrespectful of God’s generosity.
At church, we have the beautiful opportunity to show our reverence and gratitude to God by our attire, our intention and our attitude. We sing out loud, we prepare spiritually for Mass by reading the scriptures ahead of time, we meditate on the prayers of the Mass, we wear our “Sunday best” clothing to reflect the dignity and importance of the Liturgy in our lives, we show up on time, never leave early, listen and actively participate during the Mass. These are all ways we show reverence and gratitude to God. When we become more concerned with what we can give to the Lord than what we can get, that is when God’s graces become even more effective in our lives. When Holy Mass is the most important hour of the week and Sunday becomes the most cherished and important day, we confirm for ourselves and bear witness to others how grateful we are to God for His most abundant blessings. When we work to make Mass the most important part of our week, we soon discover how God helps us through all of the other things in our week. We can never outdo God in generosity, but we can forever try to give our praise, gratitude and love!
“I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise is always in my mouth. My soul will always glory in the Lord. The lowly shall hear and be glad. Magnify the Lord with me and together let us exalt His name!” Ps 34
In pace Christi,
Fr. Troy Gately