St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

Thanksgiving

 

One day my mother wanted to give a beautiful gift to my father. Some money had come in, and so she bought a motorcycle for him. She set it in the living room and waited for him. When my dad entered the house and saw it, his eyes opened wide for a little while, and then he observed: “It is a second hand, isn’t it?” It was second hand, of course, but we could not believe how, instead of jumping to the roof for joy, he just said those words. Despite of the appearances, he was certainly very happy, as we would see afterwards.

 

We feel disappointed when we do something for someone and we are not recognized. I remember one time that I had some little complaint about one of my superiors. Superiors are priests, not perfect. But one day, I think I was praying, I realize that I was wrong. My superior was the person in charge of the administration of the house, of paying the taxes, all the things I had, and I did not have to care about those things because he did everything and more for me. And for one little thing, I was complaining. That was unjust.

 

Many times you may have felt that someone does not recognize what you did for him or her. And it hurts. We are not perfect, but when we do some good things, we would like to be recognized. Actually, we would like to be loved back, because we have loved. God is perfect, everything he does is good; He also wants us to give him thanks.

 

Sometimes we are more ready to ask than to give thanks. Sometimes we complain because of the things we didn’t have… But we should give thanks to God for so many things… I tell you, we should give thanks even for the sufferings we have to undertake.

 

Suffering purifies our soul. Suffering allows us to know ourselves better. Suffering allows us to show God how much we love him. It makes us grow in love and patience, it transforms us into heroes. Suffering allows us to earn merits. Suffering prepares us for heaven in so many ways. Only through the cross we can hope to be saved, as St. Paul said: “"Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" (Acts 14:22). Suffering is a sign of blessing, like the cross. When we suffer, in that very moment we are receiving a greater grace from God.

 

But how many good things we have received! Opportunities, family or friends, studies, jobs, experiences, good doctors or good lawyers, good priests, good sisters… We have received faith, answers, existential answers. We have received first communion, so many confessions…

 

I am convinced that if God does not give us more things, it is because sometimes we don’t take advantage of what he gives us, and because we don’t give him thanks. God sees that we pray more when we suffer than when we are doing well… We need to give thanks to God, but not because we want more things, but because all good things remind us how much more beautiful is God and his love for us. To give thanks means to recognize that God loves you, that behind the gift there is a giver who loves you, and this is what makes life beautiful: to know that for God you are important, to know that God is your Father and loves you.

 

So let us give thanks to our God. How? One way of giving thanks is to give him your life, to consecrate your life to the service of God and your neighbour. Another way is to pray, especially at Mass. Or to make sacrifices. Some people make donations. Or to make a “promise”: I will read this book (the life of a Saint, for example), I will do a pilgrimage, I will organize a party and  celebrate with friends. These are all ways of giving thanks to God. We have to give thanks to God. God will never be overcome in generosity.