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Father Muench Says...

Remembering to express gratitude

November 11, 2020

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

November is a month dedicated to gratitude. November begins with our offering gratitude to God for all the saints that have touched our lives and shown us the way to being saints ourselves. Then, we offer prayers in gratitude for our deceased loved ones – those who were an important part of our lives and are now with the Lord.
The month of November always aims toward Thanksgiving Day. This is such a wonderful holiday and has become an important part of our life as Americans. Thanksgiving is a family day of gratitude remembering family and friends and being grateful for all we are and have as Americans. It is a day to celebrate our freedom and our way of life, despite the many challenges and controversies.

I know that I have written a great deal about gratitude to you in the past. I continue to believe that gratitude is an important part of all that it means to be a Catholic. God is so good and so loving to me. He fills my life with such goodness and blessings. My gratitude is constant. Knowing my God’s love, I begin and end each day with gratitude.

Jesus brought the message of God to our world. God loves us. God’s loving forgiveness welcomes us each and every day as disciples of the Lord. We must respond in gratitude to this God, who does not hesitate to forgive and love us. Jesus came to this world of ours, and Jesus was constantly close to the outcasts of this world. In love, Jesus demonstrated that God is always loving and forgiving. I must so deeply grateful for this God that loves me so much and forgives me each time I fail, each time I sin.

Jesus taught us in a very clear way in his parable of the Prodigal Son. I am certain that you remember this story. In Jesus’ story, the young son demands his share of his father’s inheritance and then loses all in a wasteful manner. Then this young man in poverty decides to return to his home. In Jesus’ story, the father rushes down the road to meet his son. The father welcomes him home in love and forgiveness and celebrates his return. Jesus tells me in this story that each time I break my relationship with the Lord and then realize, like the Prodigal Son, my selfishness and reach out to the Lord, God reacts just like the Father in Jesus’ parable, welcoming me with love and forgiveness.

There have been many times when I was indeed the Prodigal. And I have experienced God’s loving forgiveness and felt that call to find new life in the Lord’s love and peace. Each time I am overwhelmed with God’s love. This God is so loving and caring that he constantly forgives me and shows me the way to peace and happiness.

Each time I approach the altar for Mass, I remember that this is a moment of gratitude. I remember that the very word Eucharist means “thanks.” Each prayer I offer is in response to the gratitude that overflows in my heart for this God of mine. Gratitude is a part of each and every day, not just all the days of November, but all days. Jesus entered my world to bring love and peace and forgiveness to me. I am a loved person and for this I am grateful, and I know that I must live out this gratitude each day.

As I pray this day, remembering my gratitude to the Lord for all that he has brought into my life, I offer my gratitude to God for my vocation as a priest. I believe that my God called me for this I am grateful. I believe the Lord constantly supports and guides me, and for this I am grateful.

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