The great mystical writer Meister Eckhart stated: “If the only prayer that we ever said were that of thanksgiving then it would be enough.” Jesus was dismayed and saddened at the reaction of nine of the ten lepers who did not return to Him to render Him thanks for having cured them instantaneously of their terrible, ugly, and incurable disease—that of leprosy. (Lk.17:11-19)
Given that ingratitude is so prevalent in the modern society and so displeasing to God, “the giver or all good gifts,” we would like to offer a few encouraging notes on how we can enhance an “attitude of gratitude” in our lives. St. Ignatius of Loyola asserted: “The essence of sin is that of ingratitude.” William Shakespeare hit the mark commenting: “More painful than a serpent’s tooth is that of an ungrateful child.”
We will focus on one gift from God to all of humanity. It is the greatest of all God’s gifts—Himself given under the appearances of bread and wine in the most Holy Eucharist. Actually the word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving.” Let us pour out our humble and grateful hearts to the Lord of all good gifts especially for the Eucharist—the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ. This great Gift He gave to us the night before He died, at the Last Supper surrounded by His first priests and Bishops—the Apostles.
1. Priesthood. Let us constantly give thanks to Jesus for prolonging His own priesthood in our ordained priests. Only they can confect and transform the bread and wine into His Body and Blood. Thank God for the priests that you know and pray for them, but also pray that God will send more priests to work for the salvation of souls. “The Harvest is rich but the laborers are few.”
2. Holy Mass. Praise and thank the Lord for the reality of daily Mass throughout the world. As an ordained priest, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the very center, heart, core, essence of my being as priest but also as a Catholic Christian. Those who do not have the habit of daily Mass might make take up the habit of going to daily Mass whenever possible, according to your schedule. If done, you will never regret it but be eternally grateful for the graces that will fill your mind, heart, and soul.
3. The Tabernacle. Thank God for the presence of the Tabernacle. This is the little home, the castle, the abode of the Lord of Lord and the King of Kings. It is His little House. Do not leave Him alone all day. Visit Jesus in His little Home. The word “Bethlehem” means “House of Bread”. Make it a habit to visit Jesus in His little Home. Maybe this short saying can be of motivation that you visit Jesus in the Tabernacle and give Him thanks: “Whenever I see a church I stop to make a visit so that when I die the lord will not say: Who is it!”
4. The Monstrance. Even more clearly present is the Eucharistic Lord when he is exposed in the Eucharistic monstrance. The word “Monstrance,” with a Latin derivation, actually means “Showing”. Jesus is being manifested, shown publically, so that we can come to adore Him and thank Him for all the many gifts that he has bestowed on us and will continual to pour into our lives!
5. The Consecration. Thank God especially in the context of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the moment of consecration. That is the key moment when heaven comes down to earth. When the priest repeats the words that Jesus said at the Last Supper over the bread and wine: “Take and eat this is my Body; take and drink this is my Blood…” then you are witnessing the greatest miracle in the world: Jesus truly comes down from heaven to be with us. Emmanuel—meaning God with us is truly with us again! How thankful we should be for this gift of gifts!
6. Holy Communion. God’s goodness has no limits! The greatest gesture we can accomplish while living on earth is to receive Holy Communion into our hearts, into the depths of our souls. A more deep, intimate, profound union cannot exist on the planet then the soul that receive Holy Communion worthily. You soul becomes a living tabernacle, a living sanctuary. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.”
6. Mystical Body of Christ. Furthermore be thankful that you are not alone, but in family. The Church is the family of God, the People of God, and also expressed as the Mystical Body of Christ. Christ is the Head of the Body and all of us are His members. Rejoice and thank God that we have our brothers and sisters united in the Lord through the Eucharistic celebration and reception!
7. Eucharistic Ministers. In imitation of Jesus and His friends the saints we should all have a special love and express a special care and tenderness towards the elderly, the sick, the suffering, the handicapped—these are the loved ones and favorites of the Lord. Let us thank God for the generous and selfless work of Eucharistic ministers who in charity visit homes, nursing homes, hospitals, extended care centers to bring the Eucharistic Lord to them to alleviate their pain and loneliness. Jesus reminds us: “Whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers that you do unto me.”
8. Beautiful Churches and Artwork. The great and saintly Cure of Ars, Saint John Vianney lived a life of extreme poverty and mortification. He has been chosen by the Popes as model as well as patron for parish priests. He ate very little, slept very little (and even that on the floor); he scourged himself to the shedding of blood and spent close to 15 hours daily in the confessional—in heat and cold—for more than thirty five years! However, he made trips and concerted efforts to adorn his church and embellish it in the most beautiful way imaginable. Why? For the Lord He wanted to give the best! Let us thank the Lord for the beauty of Churches throughout the 2000 years of its history. Let us do all we can to help to magnify the beauty of our own churches. Remember that the Lord of Lord’s and King of King’s abides in our churches.
10. Our Lady and the Eucharist. Let us render homage, praise and thanks to the Lord God for having chosen Our Lady to be the living tabernacle of Jesus within her womb during a course of nine months. When Our Lady went in hurry to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the hill country she was actually a living tabernacle, a Corpus Christi, a Eucharistic procession. It all started with Our Lady’s “yes” to God. Therefore, let us beg our Lady for an attitude of gratitude, especially for her Son Jesus present in the Church, present in the Tabernacle, present in the consecration, and especially present in our hearts after we have receive Holy Communion. “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; eternal is His mercy.”