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Saturday, October 12, 2013

An Attitude of Gratitude

   As many of you who read this blog are aware I have now published a book called The Wandering Friar.  As I finished this work I had several strong feelings--relief that it was done, satisfaction at an accomplishment, fear that it wouldn't be accepted and GRATITUDE.  I have long been thankful for many of the blessings that the good Lord has given me in the course of my life, but writing this book about the people that I have encountered along the way made me feel especially blessed and grateful.  Interestingly, one of the most common comments I have received from readers of the book is, "What a blessed and wonderful life you have lived, Fr. John."

   I make the above observations in light of this Sunday's Gospel reading from St. Luke, the story of the curing of the ten lepers. (Lk 17:11-19).  The story, of course, contains a lesson on gratitude that most of us can remember since childhood. It certainly reinforced every parent's instruction to always say please and thank you. But why didn't the other nine come back to thank Jesus.  I can think of several reasons.

1.  In the leper colony you were cared for.  They all had to find jobs and a place in the community.  Just too busy to go say thanks.

2.  Entitlement.  Some of them perhaps just had acne or psoriasis which was falsely labeled as leprosy. They were glad to be out a place they never should have been.

3.  Fear of standing out and calling attention to themselves.  Let me get on with my life and stay out of the limelight.  Also, I could get in trouble if I hang around this Jesus and am seen as one of his followers.

4.  Not stopping to think. Just taking it for granted

5. Yes, in some cases just plain ingratitude.

   The point I'm making here is that most of us want to be grateful but we get impeded at times by all of the above attitudes.  Which one most applies to you?  to me?

   As I finished my book I realized that number 4 above was a challenge for me and so I try at the end of each day to think of at least 3 people or things I am thankful for on that day.  Usually the list is longer than three.

   The word Eucharist is derived from the Greek word for thanksgiving.  It is a great act of thanks to the Lord for His saving work in us.  Let us always be mindful of that. Let it lead us to be thankful for all of our blessings.

  One additional notice, though unrelated to the above reflection.  On Tuesday, Oct.  15, I will be celebrating Mass on CatholicTV.com.  After the Mass, at 10:30, there is a program called Start the Day, during which I will be interviewed about my book.  Both will be re-broadcast at 7:00 PM and 7:30 PM.  In Boston and vicinity it will be on channel 68.  Otherwise you watch it on your computer, not on the TV.

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