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LNY message focuses on gratitude

18aug2010This Lunar Year is the Year of the Goat (Sheep).  It is also a year to reflect on the virtue of Gratitude, and to live Gratitude.

The mild goat, sheep or ram is one who knows gratefulness to the one who provides and protects so that it can live in restfulness and contentment having all its needs taken care of.

Looking back at the tumultuous Year of the Horse in 2014, we recalled with pain the tragedies, wars and persecutions, the countless and needless loss of life, the ravages of diseases, the economic and political instabilities, the religious wrangles, the recessions, the dissatisfactions, etc, while at the same time, let us also be grateful for our health, our life, our family and our freedom today. Let us be mindful that there will come a day when we too will encounter the constraint of physical realities. Yet that reality does not lessen the gratitude we feel today, and we need to believe that even when we are weak or sorrowful or dejected, we will still be grateful for those blessings we have had.

Let us reflect upon the need for the virtue of gratitude. Let us call to mind gratitude even when things are not going as we would like or even close to what we had planned.  As Jesus said in Mt 6:33 “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  Hence we should be grateful because God grants us everything.

At the heart of our gratefulness is the idea of giving thanks for the blessings of the season past. And yet how often do we simply give thanks to God for who we are and what we have when things are going well in our lives?

Gratitude or thankfulness is much more than saying “Thank you” because we have to. Thankfulness is a way to experience the world, a way to perceive, a way to be surprised. Thankfulness is having open eyes and a short distance between the eyes and the heart.

Remembrance is the most precious trait of the virtue of gratitude. One of the most important qualities is the ability to say “thank you” to others and to take no one and nothing for granted. Those who possess the virtue of gratitude are truly rich. They not only know they have been blessed, but they continuously remember that all good things come from God.

To acknowledge others, to say thank you, is a mark of greatness. If our colleagues and volunteers are disheartened and unmotivated, might it have something to do with the fact that we have never expressed our gratitude to them for who they are and what they do?  The attitude of thankfulness, to be able to see the gifts and experiences of this world as a ‘gift’ – changes not only the person who gains this insight. It also changes the environment, the world, and those who surround that person.

Gratitude is creative. People bound together by gratitude are always discovering and awakening abundant sources of strength. The more thankful a person is, the richer he or she is within.

In the Scriptures, so much of Jesus’ ministry took place at table.  So many ideal meals are described in His parables – meals with Levi and his friends, meals with Simon the Pharisee, meals with crowds on the hillsides, meals with disciples.  It is ultimately during the final meal that Jesus leaves us with his most precious gift in the Eucharist.

To start the Lunar Year well, families often gather to share a feast at the meal table.  It is at the table that the family community becomes reconciled.  Those at table experience the transformation and transcendence of the mundane, physical, and temporal dimensions of reality through the experience of a feast.  The dinner guests at the feast encounter the divine and receive fulfillment through the physical act of eating.

Let us use the imagery of a meal (and dialogue), with its transforming quality, in the pursuit of truth, to overcome the persistent differences, and to promote justice, healing and unity within our multicultural society.

Wishing all of you a VIBRANT FAITH, UNWAVERING HOPE, AND CHARITABLE LOVE in this Lunar Year of the Goat!


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