Let’s be grateful always
Memorial of Saint Leo the Great, Pope and Doctor of the Church
November 10, 2021
By Fr. Roy Cimagala
That gospel episode about the 10 lepers who were cleansed of their leprosy (cfr. Lk 17,11-19) reminds us that God always expects us to be thankful to him. To be sure, it’s not because God just wants to be thanked always for the many favors he gives us. It is more for our own benefit.
God does not need anything from us. What he wants is that by being thankful to him, we learn to be with him always since we are his children, created in his image and likeness. He wants to share his life with us. God loses nothing if we choose not to be with him. But without him, we are the ones who would lose everything.
A thankful heart will never be alone and sad. It recognizes the many blessings and good things that it continues to receive. And it knows where they come from, and also for what purpose they are given. It will always be happy heart.
To be grateful is a necessity for us. It does us a lot of good. It keeps alive the reality that we depend on God and others for everything. It strengthens our intimacy with him, and our awareness that whatever happens in our life, God is always in control.
It makes us keenly aware of the all-powerful and merciful providence of God. With that providence, we would know that even the dark, negative things in life have meaning and purpose. They, at least, give excitement and beauty in life, because life, without these elements and when it only has all things bright and rosy, would be boring.
It keeps us humble and simple, otherwise we start inventing things and distorting reality. It keeps our feet on the ground even as we let our mind and heart soar to high heavens.
Gratitude forms an essential part of our relation with God. It is the adequate response we give upon seeing the continuous attention and care God gives us. It makes us stick to the reality of our life. It keeps us from inventing a world unhinged from its Creator and from others.
In short, it keeps us to be with God, which is what is proper to us. To be ungrateful can only make the many good things God has given us to turn sour and dangerous. It will only be a matter of time before these blessings would spoil us.
To be always grateful should be a basic attitude to have. It corresponds to the radical reality that we all depend on God for everything, and in a relative way, also on others. We have to be wary of the many things that can undermine this truth.
Let’s hope that we can take this business of being always grateful seriously. Let’s not allow any opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to pass. And let’s see to it that we do it sincerely, coming from the heart, avoiding the pitfall of doing it mechanically.
For this, we need to train our heart to be truly thankful, quick to realize its basis and purpose. For sure, we would be making a very beautiful world if we manage to be consistently grateful. We would have an environment that is healthy and vibrant, quite immunized to the evils of this world.
We would know how to be at home with God while we explore the world!