Song: Psalm 34: "This Day and Always, I will try to live in gratitude" (Text attached)
Among all her childhood experiences and the stories she heard from elderly people, one Sister remembers with special tenderness and admiration, the stories that her parents told her about the harvest:
"At the end of summer, once the harvest was done, we would bring some fruit to the church to thank God: wheat, apples, grapes, pears, vegetables. The fruit was blessed by the priest and then we would share them with other people. With the fruit, we also offered to the Lord all the work that had been done, the toil and the joys. We also thanked the earth, the weather, the soil, the water, our working tools and the animals. The ripe fruit represented all of that. Through this ritual, we expressed our faith in God, creator and carer of all things".
Later, the sister noticed that in her country, the Church offered and still practised this beautiful gesture of giving thanks, when people celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Of course, we do not have to limit our thanksgiving to one day in the year; there are opportunities to thank God in each moment of our lives.
Recall some similar experiences of giving thanks and savour them.
To give thanks also implies "finding a reason to give thanks". It is possible to find it, if our eyes and hearts are wide open, and to discover thousands of gifts that we continually receive. Gratitude is a value that is typical of great souls."
The Samaritan leper, that is to say the foreigner, presented in Luke’s Gospel (Lk17: 11-
Gratitude is indeed one of the noblest expressions of human feeling, or as Saint Mary Euphrasia said: "it is the memory of the heart". A grateful heart remembers the gifts received, and communicates and celebrates them. Memory is a way of meeting people or those beings, those things that have been and still are good to us.
Sometimes things seem so natural that we do not think of thanking for the gifts we receive on a daily basis: the gift of life, the marvels of the human body, health, family, food, nature, the air we breathe, water, means of transport, newspapers, computers, telephones, rest etc. Our days are filled with presents and gifts from God, and enjoying them is a way of being grateful.
"All good giving and every perfect gift is given from above, it comes down from the Father of all light…" (James 1: 17). "In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus." (I Thess 5: 18)
Today biblical and theological reflections help us to go a step further, towards a more cosmological perspective on gratitude. Many times, perhaps we have thought that thanking God was a capacity or an attitude proper to human beings. But all creatures praise God for being created by Him: "All your works praise you, Lord…" (Psalm 145: 10).
When God sends forth God’s Breath or God’s Spirit, the animals, plants, birds and fish are created and the land is renewed. Human beings are part of the community of creation before God. We are fellow creatures with others in the community of creation. Psalm 148 gives profound expression to this reality as it has as its central theme human beings praising God with all other creatures. Psalm 104 is a magnificent song of praise for the generous abundance of life and for the diversity of creation. God is recognised as the giver of all things and as the one who provides for all things. Human beings as fellow creatures with other animals before God are rejoicing with God in the whole world of creation and praising God’s glory and wisdom revealed in God’s manifold creatures.
From this perspective, we do not thank God only FOR, but we give thanks WITH all the other created beings with whom we form part of this community. The song of Daniel (3: 57-
In the light of this wonderful reality, lovingly and delicately woven through the initiative of our Creator, how can we not give thanks and praise to God "with loud cries" as the cured leper did?
"You have a heart made to love, to be grateful… raise your joyful thanks to your Benefactor for the immense grace of your vocation.
How do I show gratitude?
To what concrete action am I called by the Lord?
St. John Eudes placed great emphasis on thanksgiving and wrote a beautiful Magnificat, which inspired St. Mary Euphrasia.
Can you also write and pray your own Magnificat?
THANKSGIVING WITH St. John Eudes:
"I give infinite thanks to You, O my God, for myself and for all your creatures, especially for those who are dear to me. Thank You for having given us life and a heart capable of knowing and loving you. God, my Creator, You gave me life to use in your service. That is why I offer it to you and consecrate it entirely to you. I no longer want to live except to serve You with all the love You expect from me".
Texts to help your personal reflection:
Daniel 3: 57-
Psalms 104 and 148
Luke 17: 11-
If you wish, you can go into Supplementary Tools to deepen your reflection with photos, videos etc.