#gratitude

Saint of the Post Office

I really enjoy going to my local post office. It is a tiny pre-fab building, in the parking lot of a Laguna Woods clubhouse. The place is often crowded with older folks struggling with boxy packages, mailing envelopes, letters, or cards headed for all parts of the world. Alma runs the place. I am sure she is destined for sainthood. The first time I met her she was waiting on a senior who was trying to mail a  care package to a nephew in prison. The lady didn’t have the correct address and seemed embarrassed and frustrated. Alma looked up the information on her computer. She put the correct postage on the box, making small-talk in a kind, calm voice. The place was packed.  Alma radiated serenity. I was the last one in line. I said to Alma “You are so calm and serene. You must be a Buddhist or something.” “No. I’m a Christian. I used to be very impatient. I think God sent me here to learn patience.”

by Nathaniel

Away and Back

This was the first year that I spent Thanksgiving away from home. My husband and I squeezed suitcases, “essential” baby contraptions and our two boys into the car and set off to the mountains for the holiday. We joyfully joined my husband’s family for a week of relaxation and wilderness adventures, including some snow! Together, we “christened” the family cabin with our first Thanksgiving feast. As we sat around the table, hearts filled to the brim with love and gratitude for each other and for this one, precious life. It was beautiful. And at the same time, I missed home. We returned Saturday evening, tired and ragged from the long car ride, but my grateful heart continued to soar as I felt the comfort of being home. There is nothing like that feeling of coming home – like running into the arms of Christ.

by CMM

Prophetic Voices

I am grateful for people of courage and faith who are willing to stand up for justice and peace like beacons in the night.  This past Sunday’s gospel (Matthew 25:31-46) speaks so succinctly about our responsibilities for each other.  Jesus made it so clear! Feed the hungry. Welcome the stranger among us. Cloth the naked. Take care of the sick. Treat the imprisoned with mercy. ML King of America, Gandhi of India and Romero of El Salvador and Christ the King were all martyred for following this call.  Heeding the cry of the poor, providing decent health care for all, embracing immigrants fleeing persecution and economic hardship, and showing mercy to the incarcerated and those imprisoned by addiction are dangerous pursuits to be sure. I hail the prophetic voices that speak up for the demonized, the forgotten and the shunned. Am I a sheep or a goat?

by Andrew

Communal Thanks

I was thinking about how many times in the mass we say “thank you” to God. In the Gloria “We praise you, we glorify you, we thank you for your great glory.” One of my favorite parts of the Mass is the preface to the Eucharistic prayer when the celebrant prays “It is truly right and just, our duty and salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Father most holy, through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ…” It is a firm reminder to be thankful for the many blessings in our lives as we are about to partake in the greatest of all God’s gifts, the Body and Blood of our Savior. It causes me to reflect on all the goodness in my own life: the freedom to worship, the blessing of being a part of such a vibrant faith community, and the saving grace of a God who is always with me.

by JAM

Grateful Generosity

For the first time in over twelve years, I am serving Thanksgiving for my family. By the time you read this, Thanksgiving 2017 will have been freshly minted in my memory bank for two days. The holidays haven’t always been so hopeful for me but I try to never live disconnected from God’s living grace. Terry Hershey says, “There are no unsacred moments.” He asks, “What if this life can be both an opportunity for humility and empathy?” That idea works best for me when I devote my time and resources helping people in need or doing a kind deed for someone. Proverbs 11: 24 says, “One gives freely, yet grows all the richer: another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.” This invites me to be generous with my time, talents and resources. I find I live less wholeheartedly when I let negative thoughts steal from my potentially happy memory bank, leaving me feeling empty and more needy.  Living with a caring, compassionate heart brightens my spirits and elevates my soul. Enjoy Terry Hershey’s ‘Sabbath Moment.’

https://www.terryhershey.com/indefinitely-preparing-to-live/

by Gracie

Broken and Glorious

“As I walked down the avenue, the late afternoon sun was turning the lovely and dying sycamore leaves into fragments of brilliant stained glass, and I said to myself, “This alone is worth the price of admission to our broken and glorious world.” Linda Larrson

Reading this quote today a few things resonated deeply within me. This author is living in a place of gratitude, being able to see the beauty around her while not denying the brokenness that is present in this world on many levels. It is so easy to fall into stagnant puddles of cynicism, judgment, and apathy. But no, we have Hope with a capital H in the person of Jesus. It challenged me to continue to go forward knowing not all will ever be perfect but there is glory, God’s glory, if we look for it and be part of sharing that hopeful message with the world.

by Cathy

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Day is here! Across America, we enter into a kind of sacred ritual whether we are aware of it or not. We celebrate gratitude as we sit with our families or friends to break bread together and just BE with each other. For my family and me, it is our favorite holiday of the year.  There are no presents, no obligation, just a time to gather and be present to the day with each other. We gather for a prayer of thanksgiving and truly embrace the love of family and friends being thankful, once again, for our life together. We wash away any negative feelings and forgive any wrongdoings. It’s a renewal, or pathway, in a sense, for us to enter into the Christmas season. The ritual of Thanksgiving is sacramental and bonding.  Let us take the day to reflect and be thankful for just that. Happy Thanksgiving!

by Liz

Prayer As Leverage

An old philosopher once said, “give me a place to stand and I will move the earth.” This simple sentence holds at its core the concept of moving obstacles many times larger than the mover. Is it not the same as when we pray in silence for each other? Give us a place to pray and we can help change a hurting world. Give us a place to pray and we can be the fulcrums that move the earth towards gratitude. Yet gratitude will not be measured in years or hours or flowers of the earth. It will not be marginalized or set aside for the privileged. It brings no ill will to the light nor does it shine in the darkness. Gratitude cannot be filled to the top or drained to the bottom. It cannot be bought, sold or bartered for. Gratitude stands tall in sickness and it will not die. Every time we pray we create gratitude and move the world. Prayer is a simple concept of moving obstacles many times larger than the mover.

by Diego