Keep your eyes
BIBLE IN ONE YEAR: http://oneyearbibleonline.com/november-oyb/?version=63&startmmdd=0101
November 25, 2015
THE TRIB TIMES WILL RETURN NEXT
WEEK, GOD WILLING (James 4:15). HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
(Col 3:12-17) Put
ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of
mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience: Bearing with one another
and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another.
Even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also. But above all these
things have charity, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace
of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one
body: and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you
abundantly: in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in
psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts
to God. All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of
the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
BISHOP THOMAS J. TOBIN: The Holy Mass: The Perfect Thanksgiving
CATHOLIC REVIEW: Counting our blessings: Prayers to enhance your family’s Thanksgiving feast
FROM THE MAILBAG
VIA RON ROLHEISER, OMI: GRATITUDE THE BASIC VIRTUE
There’s a Jewish folk-tale which runs something like this:
There once was a young man who aspired to great holiness. After some time at working to achieve it, he went to see his Rabbi.
“Rabbi,” he announced, “I think I have achieved sanctity.”
”Why do you think that?” asked the Rabbi.
”Well,” responded the young man, “I’ve been practising virtue and
discipline for some time now and I have grown quite proficient at them.
From the time the sun rises until it sets, I take no food or water. All
day long, I do all l do all kinds of hard work for others and I never
expect to be thanked.
“If I have temptations of the flesh, I roll in the snow or in thorn
bushes until they go away, and then at night, before bed, I practice
the ancient monastic discipline and administer lashes to my bare back.
I have disciplined myself so as to become holy.”
The Rabbi was silent for a time. Then he took the young man by the arm
and led him to a window and pointed to an old horse which was just
being led away by its master.
“I have been observing that horse for some time,” the Rabbi said, “and
I’ve noticed that it doesn’t get fed or watered from morning to night.
All day long it has to do work for people and it never gets thanked. I
often see it rolling around in snow or in bushes, as horses are prone
to do, and frequently I see it get whipped.
“But, I ask you: Is that a saint or a horse?”
This is a good parable because it shows how simplistic it is to simply
identity sanctity and virtue with self-renunciation and the capacity to
do what’s difficult. In popular thought there’s a common spiritual
equation: saint=horse. What’s more difficult is always better. But that
can be wrong.
To be a saint is to be motivated by gratitude, nothing more and nothing
less. Scripture, everywhere and always, makes this point.
For example, the sin of Adam and Eve was, first and foremost, a failure
in receptivity and gratitude. God gives them life, each other and the
garden and asks them only to receive it properly, in gratitude—receive
and give thanks. Only after doing this, do we go on to “break and
share” Before all else, we first give thanks.
To receive in gratitude, to be properly grateful, is the most primary
of all religious attitudes. Proper gratitude is ultimate virtue. It
defines sanctity. Saints, holy persons, are people who are grateful,
people who see and receive everything as gift.
The converse is also true. Anyone who takes life and love for granted should not ever be confused with a saint.
Let me try to illustrate this: As a young seminarian, I once spent a
week in a hospital, on a public ward, with a knee injury. One night a
patient was brought on to our ward from the emergency room. His pain
was so severe that his groans kept us awake. The doctors had just
worked on him and it was then left to a single nurse to attend to him.
Several times that night, she entered the room to administer to
him—changing bandages, giving medication, and so on. Each time, as she
walked away from his bed he would, despite his extreme pain, thank her.
Finally, after this had happened a number of times, she said to him: “Sir, you don’t need to thank me. This is my job!”
“Ma’am!” he replied, “it’s nobody’s job to take care of me! Nobody owes me that. I want to thank you!
I was struck by that, how, even in his great pain, this man remained
conscious of the fact that life, love, care, and everything else come
to us as a gift, not as owed. He genuinely appreciated what this nurse
was doing for him and he was right— it isn’t anybody’s job to take care
It’s our propensity to forget this that gets us into trouble. The
failure to be properly grateful, to take as owed what’s offered as
gift, lies at the root of many of our deepest resentments towards
others—and their resentments towards us.
Invariably when we are angry at someone, especially at those closest to
us, it is precisely because we are not being appreciated (that is,
thanked) properly. Conversely, I suspect, more than a few people harbor
resentments towards us because we, consciously or unconsciously, think
that it is their job to take care of us.
Like Adam and Eve we take, as if it is ours by right, what can only be
received gratefully as gift. This goes against the very contours of
love. It is the original sin.
Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Visions
10. Macarius wanted to encourage the brothers so he said, 'A little
while ago a mother came here with her son who was vexed by a devil, and
he said to his mother, "Get up, let us go away from here." But she
said, "my feet are so bad that I can't walk away." So her son said to
her, "I will carry you." I am amazed at the cleverness of the devil,
how much he wanted them to flee from this place''
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