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Father Muench Says...

Gratitude: It’s not just for Thanksgiving

November 27, 2019

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

The message for today is gratitude. As you know, I often return to gratitude as I write. I believe that gratitude is the center and the most important quality of the life of a disciple of Jesus. Gratitude comes to my mind today as I look forward to the approach of Thanksgiving Day.

First of all, the usual reminder as we approach Thanksgiving Day. Gratitude is not a one-day-a-year event.

Gratitude is an everyday remembrance, an everyday celebration. However, Thanksgiving Day does remind us of the importance of making gratitude a part of everyday of our lives.

I know you have heard many my ideas about gratitude often before. Yet, I encourage you to stay with me as I again share with you about something I believe is the very heart and soul of my faith in the Lord. Every Sunday, as you and I celebrate Eucharist as disciples of Jesus, our hearts must be filled with gratitude for our loving God.

I am certain that you remember that the word Eucharist means “thank you.” Each time we celebrate Mass together, each time we celebrate the Eucharist together, we are worshipping our Lord with gratitude. This gratitude comes to our hearts over and over again because of all that Jesus did for us. Jesus came among us to bring the message of God to us; Jesus died for us because his message was so important to him; Jesus brought us all new life through Resurrection. What a gift Jesus is for us! For all of this, I am so intensely grateful.

As a Christian, my gratitude influences the way I live my life. My gratitude is reflected in the way I strive to live each day. I believe a person who lives a grateful life must bring joy and peace to the world. A grateful person is bursting with love, recognizing the blessings and gifts that God brings into life each and every day. This spirit of gratitude transforms every day. Gratitude is a recognition of how gifted we are – all of us. Gratitude must influence everything I do.

At the same time, I am grateful because my life has been touched by the many wonderful people the Lord has placed in my life – my family, my friends, and even the strangers I meet. I am a different person because of so many others – these are my saints. My gratitude demands that I live a better life and strive to bring God’s love to others myself.

Let me share here my gratitude to the Lord in a special way for words. My life has been filled with words. I deal with words every day. In faith and trust, I believe that God gives me the right words when teaching, when speaking, when writing. I am humbly grateful to God for this gift. I am confident in the Lord’s concern for me. I recognize that the Lord wants to be part of my life. He wants to show me the way. I am so confident that when I need the right words, I stop to pray. I have been called innumerable times to visit a home and a family at the time of a tragedy, a death, a major problem. Each time I prepare a homily or begin to write something, even a letter to a friend, I stop to pray for the right words, and the Lord reaches out to me. The Lord is there with the proper words. This for me is my loving God showing me the way, being a friend to me.

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