My friend, Maria, and her husband Roger babysat for their grandson a few weekends ago and thoroughly enjoyed their time. Maria, however, remarked to me that Roger noticed how neither mother or father failed to say “Thank-you.” It just seemed like the young couple felt the grandparent’s time with the baby was more of a gift to them than anything which needed to be thanked. Roger was the one who had brought up his feelings of being taken for granted, and how it hurt.
In thinking on those grandparents’ situation, I focused back on our Catholic liturgy to a passage I love. Within the Eucharistic Prayer No. 2, it states, “It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Father most holy, through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ, your Word through whom you made all things, whom you sent as our Savior and Redeemer, incarnate by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin.” I love hearing our Priest say those words, for it is indeed our duty and our salvation to give God “thanks.”
But why? What does thankfulness do for us? What does it release in our spirits? In 1 Thessalonians 5: the Bible states: “Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Here we can learn that that thankfulness releases God’s will in us. It is not a tricky suggestion to further complicate living, but thankfulness is His desire for those who have trusted their lives into Jesus’ hands.
Thankfulness just plain DISPELS. It rids us of fear, lack of trust, bitterness; and it engenders a human environment of looking for the good in all situations. It makes us open to God’s plan for our lives, not solely our intentions. Thankfulness produces trust that although we can’t understand what might be going on, we can be in peace because we have an Advocate who truly does know.
But how do you become a thankful person if you are a worrier or a doubter? Well again we can find our answer within the Bible from Saint Paul when he states in Philippians 4:4-7, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” To become a thankful person who is free from worry or anxiety, JUST DO IT! It really is that simple, for what can one drop of worry do for you? Absolutely nothing!
On a personal note, I decided to quit worrying many years ago when I saw my husband’s mother develop Alzheimer Disease which lasted for 16 years before her death. She was a constant worrier, and in my heart of hearts I couldn’t help but feel that that stress and strain had taken a toll on her brain; so I let worry go and replaced it with thankfulness–my duty and my salvation.
Saint Matthew even addresses worry ( which of course is the antithesis of thankfulness) when Christ says in Matthew 6: 25-25-34, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink,or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”