By Rev. Daniel Considine, S.J.
What is a point of view which will put everything into its proper perspective, and is fitted for every sight, weak as well as strong? Thankfulness, in all places, in all circumstances, always. God is ever with us, we are ever with Him, we cannot help forming some opinion of Him: we must have some theory about Him if He ever enters our thoughts. What is it to be?
A good opinion, a sense of how much we owe Him. Even if we feel that we do very little for Him, and, indeed, are of very little account ourselves, we can at least thank Him for His kindness; we need not be ashamed to acknowledge it.
Good manners teach us to say thank you for a service rendered. And God is at our service, tends us, provides for us all day, all night long. We can surely say so much in our hearts without any loss of dignity on our part.
We may kiss the Hand that feeds us. We need undertake no new obligations, we need make no promise, we only meet a gift, a never-ending succession of gifts, with an expression of gratitude.
We do not refuse His presents, we cannot refuse His presents if we are to retain our being; we give Him in return simply our thanks. A beggar would do no less and we need do no more.
Of course, He does not require a repetition of acts, but a disposition, a temper of thanksgiving. We can have His mercies for the asking, or unasked, if only we will acknowledge them.
On what easy terms does the Eternal God open to us His stores! It needs no long practice of austerity or high contemplation to tell him that we are grateful for what we have received. All His gifts are not equally pleasant, but they are all from His Hand, and we know that they are bestowed for our good, although we do not see how.
If we ran our course with eyes always open to God’s favors showered upon us and with grateful hearts, we should not have run in vain and should receive the prize.
Thankfulness ripens into love and love is the fulfilling of the law. How fond Jesus Christ was of publishing His thanks to His heavenly Father! How deeply He felt the slights put upon Him by Simon the Pharisee and, on the other hand, the atonement made for them by Magdalen’s love!
“Thou gavest Me no water for My Feet, but she with tears hath washed My Feet, and with her hairs hath wiped them.”
Paradise was His thank-offering to the Good Thief for his defense of Him on Calvary. It will also be the sure reward of all whom no contradictions, no perplexities, can hinder from always praising, always thanking God.
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We do not have to do great things to influence those little people. No, we must do the small things in a great way…with love and consistency. Catholic culture is built on celebrating, in the home, the feasts, the seasons, the saints, the holydays….making them come alive in a beautiful and charming way. Lent is that special season wherein we teach our children the value of sacrifice and of discipline. This journal will lay out some simple activities in which your children will be doing their sacrifices and will have a tangible means of “counting” them for Jesus. You, Mom, will have a place to put a check mark if that the activity is remembered and completed for the day. This journal also includes a place for you to check off whether you are fulfilling your own personal resolutions…your Spiritual Reading, your Family Rosary, etc. It makes it more palpable if you can check it off at the end of the day….there’s just something about putting pen to paper when an accomplishment has been fulfilled! My hope is that this journal may help you stay focused on making this Lent fruitful for your own soul and the souls of those little people entrusted to your care!