Someone has said: “Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” All of us must encourage our hearts to remember – remember the kindnesses we receive everyday, the love we take for granted, and the blessings the Lord bestows on us on a daily basis. Unfortunately our memories find it easier to dwell on the bad stuff than on the good. I believe that most of us spend too much time complaining and not enough time being grateful.
I remember seeing a little play in the parish school when I was a child. The first scene of the play showed this huge office in heaven where angels were scurrying from one task to another. They were busy answering the phones. The Internet was not in existence then. They were busy answering letters. The door of the office bore the sign: “Petitions.” People were sending in so many prayers of petition that the angels at the office did not have time enough to eat. The next scene moved over to another office. It dealt with thanks. The tenor of that office was totally different. The angels had nothing to do. They were playing cards, drinking coffee and carrying on long conversations. Even as a child I gathered a very significant insight: “We are quick to ask for things but we do not thank God enough!” Even after almost fifty years I remember that truth vividly as if I had learnt it just yesterday.
Especially in our country we have so much to be grateful for. Back in India the feast of thanksgiving occurs in January when farmers gather their harvest. The Hindus celebrate for three days during which time they offer thanks to their gods, their neighbors and even to the animals that work with them on the farm. The feast of Thanksgiving that we hold in the US every year has a very important role in the life of the nation and our families. It is imperative that we set aside time to count our blessings and recognize how much God has blessed our country.
As we approach Thanksgiving I would like to give thanks for each and every one of you, for all that you contribute to our parish – your time, your gifts, your treasure, your presence and your faith. In a special way I am deeply grateful to those who participated in our capital campaign, “Fulfilling our Centennial Promise.” As a parish let us give thanks for this faith community and for the many ways it nurtures our faith and draws us closer to God. Let us thank God for our families and all the gifts they pour into our lives. Let us thank God for the many parishioners who have gone before us and have built up an edifice of living stones to our God. In a special way I would like to thank our parish staff for their dedication and their generous ministry. I consider myself fortunate to minister with a team of competent and committed women and men who love what they do and love this parish community. I am also grateful to our numerous volunteers who give of themselves to make our parish a vibrant, life-giving haven.
In recent years a group of psychologists has been doing what is called “positive psychology.” Instead of focusing their attention on psychological illnesses, they have invested their energy in investigating ways to keep people psychologically healthy and fulfilled. They concur that being grateful is one of the sure-fire ways of finding happiness in one’s life. They maintain that keeping a “gratitude journal” wherein we record all our blessings contribute to people’s psychological health. Professor Seligman invited his students to write a letter thanking those who had made significant impact on their lives. Then the students were asked to read the letter to the persons concerned. They reported a significant increase in their subjective well-being as they completed the project. Being grateful is the sure key to happiness and good health. Let us take time to thank personally our families, our friends and our neighbors. Let this annual celebration be more than sharing a meal together.
Let us bear in mind the words of Charles Dickens who said: "Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has plenty; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." The best way to express our gratitude to God is to offer the Eucharist which itself is “thanksgiving.” I invite all of you to make it a point to participate in the Eucharist on November 26th at 10 am. Have a heart-warming Thanksgiving holiday! Do enjoy your family and friends. May God bless you today and everyday!
Born in India to deeply-committed Catholic parents, Fr Britto is one of seven children. He joined the Salesians of Don Bosco as a young man and was ordained a priest in 1981.
After he completed his priestly formation and his early education in India, he came to the US for his graduate degree in Journalism at...Read more...