Spiritual Warfare Weapon: Gratitude

“It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Father most holy.” This text of the second Eucharistic prayer of the Mass not only states the primacy of gratitude, but also reveals a powerful defense against the evil one. Lucifer, once a magnificent angel of light, fell from heaven due to pride. Rebellion and ingratitude are cousins of pride. Now, one third of the fallen angels tempt humanity into pride, rebellion and ingratitude to God.

A person who has cultivated an attitude of gratitude to God in all things has formed a powerful weapon against evil spirits. This is precisely a Marian characteristic. I discovered the efficacy of turning ordinary temptations into a prayer of gratitude from the lives of the saints. In deliverance and exorcism ministry work, we note a difference when a prayer of gratitude is formed — even, before liberation. Such faith acts lessen the diabolical grip on a person.

St. Paul helps us understand this, “Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. So, we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:15-16). When we lose heart (faith in God) we are more prone to fall into temptation or cooperate with evil.

Christ taught St. Faustina, “But child, you are not yet in your homeland; so go, fortified by My grace, and fight for My kingdom in human souls; fight as a king’s child would; and remember the days of your exile will pass quickly, and with them the possibility of earning merit for heaven. I expect from you, my child, a great number of souls who will glorify My mercy for all eternity.” (St. Faustina, Diary, no. 1489 quoted by Beckman, God’s Healing Mercy, p.113)

This applies to all believers. A greater number of souls will eternally glorify The Divine Mercy because they received mercy in the way that David did in the defeat of Goliath (cf. 1 Sam. 17). If, for a time we are tested by diabolical vexation, in faith we trust that God is about a great work in and through us. We believe that God will bring greater good out of the evil trials. For this we give thanks—even before the day of liberation. Like Job, during diabolical oppression, we bless the name of the Lord; thank Him for the liberation and restoration that is sure to come through perseverance.

The Church encourages believers to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. There is profound wisdom here, distinct from something shallower such as secular positive thinking or optimism. For Catholics, gratitude is foundational to living a fully human life. Why? Because when we give thanks to God in all things we walk humbly as Eucharistic disciples.

The source and summit of our faith is the Eucharist which means thanks-giving, thanks-saying, thanks-doing. Eucharistic life produces the fruit of gratitude, graciousness, goodness.

An enormous gratitude deficient exists in the world, personally and collectively. Unhappiness, rage, violence, are evidence of a gratitude deficit. It seems impossible for a person to be simultaneously thankful and unhappy, angry, violent, etc. Perhaps ingratitude also contributes to empty seats at Mass on Sunday. An ingrate is not very likable. Sometimes the problem is we don’t like ourselves very much. A solution could be to thank God for creating you; for loving you into existence, for accompanying you always, for gazing upon you with holy love.

Be grateful for the gift of life, faith, family, friends, education, job and everything else that is yours as gift of God. Gratitude keeps our spiritual armor well-oiled so that we can “fight like a knight” against the devil and his minions. Prayers of gratitude are repugnant to evil spirits.

Blessed James Kern, O. Praem. Priest of Gratitude

Thanks to my friend, Fr. Gregory Dick, O. Praem., of St. Michael’s Norbertine Abbey, I can share a powerful Litany of Abundant Thanksgiving to God. The author is anonymous, but this litany was a cherished devotion of Blessed James Kern, a Norbertine priest, who offered himself in substitution for a brother priest who had led a schism (the Czech National Church). Fr. Kern went to the extent of joining the Norbertine Order and Abbey from which the schismatic priest once belonged. The Lord accepted Fr. Kern’s offer of reparation; he suffered greatly and died shortly after his ordination to the priesthood. Fr. Kern desired to spread this litany of gratitude to God. He had several thousand copies of the litany printed. He died before he could distribute them. In the words of Fr. Gregory Dick, “I suppose he left that to us, his fellow Norbetines”.

Litany of Abundant Thanksgiving to God

Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

It is right and just.

It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give You thanks,

Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God.

Lord, have mercy.

Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us.

Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of heaven,

have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Spirit,
Holy Trinity, one God,
Holy Mary, Mother of God, lead our song of thanksgiving.

For light, life and all creation,
  we give thanks to you O God.
For the manger, the cross, and the dawn of Easter,
For the Dove and the seven flames of heavenly Fire,
For the revelation of the mystery of Yourself, the most holy Trinity,
For the Queen of Heaven, Your Son’s mother and ours,
For the cleansing waters of Baptism,
For those who led us into Your Church,
For my father, mother, relatives and friends,
For my homeland, government and native tongue,
For my daily bread, my home, and my vocation,
For consolation, success and protection in danger,
For the works of penance that You have given us,
For the bitter cup of suffering which makes us strong,
For the Anointing of Confirmation, which conforms
us to the Holy Spirit,

For the Sacrifice of Christ’s Body and Blood,

For the daily nourishment of this heavenly Bread,
For Jesus dwelling amongst us in the tabernacle,
For healing and strengthening us in the Sacrament
of Reconciliation,

For the consoling Anointing of the sick, which
heals and redeems,

For the power of priests to call upon You,
For the nobility, honor and dignity of marriage,
For the glorious gift of the Sacrament of
Matrimony,

For the Church who raises us up and binds us
together,

For this Rock of Truth withstanding storms and
distress,

For Peter, holding the keys of heaven in his hand,
For Your shepherds’ priesthood which serves as
Jesus served,

For the royal priesthood of the baptized who offer
spiritual worship,

For religious orders, the flowers on the tree of Your
Holy Church,

For the perfect proof of faith,
For the hope of beholding You face to face,
For the privilege of being able to love Your Name
and glory,

For the assistance of angels in this earthly battle,
For our Guardian Angels, our friends and
protectors,

For the courage we are given from the merits of the
Saints,
For all the Saints who are interceding for us before
Your throne,
For the guidance You give us in the Saints of our
age,

For the immaculate purity of the Virgin Mary,
For the Scriptures and the teaching of the
Magisterium,

For all the glorious victories of Your kingdom,
For all the illustrious feast days of the Church,
For Your hearkening to our intercessions for the
dead,

For having given us an immortal soul endowed
with intellect,
For having ennobled our will with freedom,
For having given us a will for good,
For having promised eternal rewards for even the
smallest of good deeds,

For Your kind providence leading us through life,
For Your light burning in the darkness of the night,
For Your voice sounding in the clouds of
disappointment,

For Your hand supporting us when the ground
shakes beneath us,

For the Sacred Heart of Jesus,
For the revelations of His unfathomable Mercy,
For all graces given us when we have deserved only
punishments,

For the resurrection of the dead,
For the coming of Christ on the clouds,
For judging the righteous in justice,
For bringing the proud to their knees,
For calling us to our true homeland in heaven,

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

    spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

    graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,

    have mercy on us.

Let us pray.

O God, who has said, “Always give thanks in everything,” we humbly beseech You to give us the grace of beginning our thanksgiving here on earth in such a way that we may be able to finish it in heaven. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

For more information about Blessed James Kern, O. Praem., or St. Michael’s Norbertine Abbey: stmichaelsabbey.com

image: Adoration in the Assumption Chapel by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. / Flickr

Kathleen Beckman

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Kathleen Beckman, L.H.S. is President and Co-Founder of the Foundation of Prayer for Priests (www.foundationforpriests.org), a global apostolate of prayer and catechesis for the holiness of priests promoting spiritual motherhood and fatherhood. An international Catholic evangelist, author, radio host, Ignatian certified retreat director, she assists priests in the Church’s ministry of healing, deliverance and exorcism. Often featured on Catholic TV and radio such as EWTN and the Catholic Channel, she hosts the weekly program, “Eucharist, Mercy & Saints” which airs internationally on Radio Maria. She and her husband are business owners and have two grown sons. Sophia Institute Press published her three latest books: Praying for Priests: A Mission for the New Evangelization (‘14) and God’s Healing Mercy: Finding Your Path to Forgiveness, Peace & Joy (‘15) When Women Pray: Eleven Catholic Women on the Power of Prayer (’17)Her reversion to the faith in 1991 came through the Eucharist and Mary. www.kathleenbeckman.com. More at www.kathleenbeckman.com.

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