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Father Muench Says...

Making time for gratitude in my life

May 31, 2017

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

I would like to return to gratitude today.  Gratitude touches my life everyday but there are many times when gratitude holds my attention more than others.

The Feast of the Ascension of the Lord calls to mind for me the times I was transferred as a priest – leaving one parish for another.

For me, this was a time to express my gratitude to many in the parish for their support and help while I was pastor in that parish.

I continue to try and make gratitude an important part of my life.  I have often quoted to you Brother David’s statement on gratitude.  He writes, “If you want to find happiness, be a grateful person.

Take this week for example.  In a special way, I have many to thank.

A couple of weeks ago, I ended up with a short stay in the hospital.  Can you believe, appendicitis?
I know and am so pleased that many friends, family, people of the parish came forth to promise me their prayers during my operation and stay in the hospital.

I want to guarantee you that prayer has power – I say this from my own experience.  I know well the powerful support when many are praying for me, especially during illness.

So, I am grateful to so many who have remembered me in their prayers – this goes back over many years.
Through this all, I thank God, of course.  I thank God for constant protection over all of my years.  There is so many reasons and situations where I know that God was watching over me.  God has been with me through it all, protecting and guiding me. 

I think first and most important of my vocation; I am so thankful for the many gifts and talents and abilities that were given to me by God that lead me to the priesthood.  My gratitude continues, even now – God’s inspirations and helps in my ministry even during my retirement.  God has been so good to me.

Each time I prepare to celebrate the Holy Mass, I call to mind in prayer that Eucharist means thanksgiving.  As I prepare, I call to mind my intentions for those who need my prayers, sick and needy.

I also remember to offer my gratitude for all that has happened to me that very day.  For me, Mass is a celebration of gratitude – the Mass is the perfect prayer, the perfect time for me to commemorate in peace and joy all that God has brought into my life.  I am so grateful.

Recently, I was invited to talk to the Bereavement Group in Watertown, a wonderful group of people.  I am certain that I learned more that evening, than I ever presented to them.  I was deeply touched by their stories. 
After our discussion roamed to many places, I discovered that we all found a centering moment with gratitude.  Several shared with us their thoughts of gratitude – gratitude for the gift of their loved one who had died.

One of the folks described how she often joined with her dying husband – spending evenings sharing memories with each other – recalling the many people and things for which they continued to be grateful. So, today, I remind you again of the importance of gratitude.  I encourage you all to join me as we turn to the Lord in joy and happiness to thank God for all that has blessed our lives.

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