"Thank God!" How many times and in how many different circumstances have we uttered our gratitude to God for some salvific happening. I hope that we meant it every time. To give thanks to God is a most necessary prayer. To say "thank you" to God has been called the essential prayer. Our word Eucharist is from the Greek bearing the meaning of giving thanks. Indeed, if one is thoughtful, he would have to agree that most, if not all, of the things that a person is thankful for comes through the presence of God acting within the faithfulness of another person. If a person is sincerely grateful for the love, the hope, and the guidance provided by their faith in God, it cannot help but be reflected in the manner and the character of that person. Being thankful is much more than counting one's blessings, thankfulness opens the mind and heart to see clearly to love one's neighbor and to love all of creation.
In times of stress or sadness, loss or defeat, the act of giving thanks remains appropriate. We learn from all of our experiences and the opportunity for growth in wisdom is there within. History has shown that disappointment and failure often has opened a door to a new path and a brilliant success for many. Reflecting upon their past, how thankful these individuals must have been for the revelations contained in the hardships and challenges they faced. Even if no great and glorious pathway was shown through the darkness and despair of self-doubt, a calming patience and a stubborn resolve to find one's way in life along with a readiness to receive the caring of true friends and loved ones will lead, I do believe, to a final satisfaction and a peaceful spirit.
Thankfulness has many children. We may amass around us all of the treasures accrued throughout our life and regard them individually or as a whole, but underlying all of them is a cause for gratitude that we must not let escape us. Giving thanks for all that God had bestowed upon us is a proper attitude to maintain and it exposes a generous awareness and insight that blesses our day.
I wish you humor and a twinkle in the eye. I wish you glory and the strength to bear its burdens. I wish you sunshine on your path and storms to season your journey. I wish you peace – in the world in which you live and in the smallest corner of the heart where truth is kept. I wish you faith – to help define your living and your life. More I cannot wish you – except perhaps love – to make all the rest worthwhile.
Robert A. Ward
Yet, a greater cause for joy and thanksgiving lies at the foundation of all our thankfulness: it is not the thanksgiving felt for all God has done, but a feeling of thankfulness for who God is. The mystics had this appreciation. The grace of a holy life is to love God not for anything done for us, but to love God for himself. One might be saying, "Thank you God for being you. Thank you for loving me for reasons I cannot fathom. Thank you for being love and for wanting me to live eternally in your love." In this truth, we can leave this world and all the things and events that have raised feelings of thanksgiving to the Almighty. We can set the horizons of our gratitude beyond all that we have known and cherished. Everything else will pass away, but God's love remains. Thank God!