Grace to you!
In our previous reflections, I promised to share a testimony with you concerning an example of proactive gratitude. That testimony will be an introduction to today’s reflection.
A priest prayed a whole year for funding to carry out a huge diocesan project. Towards the end of the fiscal year, he felt God was stirring his heart to offer (celebrate) three Masses of thanksgiving for his prayers, which have been answered. Actual grace, the divine “nudges”, inspiring us to do good and take good action(s) in concrete situations was real in his situation.
Responding to this good and holy prompting, the priest offered three Masses of Thanksgiving to God. After the last Mass, in the evening of that same day, he received a call from the bishop who informed him that a big donor had provided the funds for that diocesan project the same day. The news seemed unreal to him. Evidently, God was at work. In the Bishop's words: “This is miraculous.” Indeed, it was.
Proactive gratitude is a way of receiving the graces and gifts we desire. It could also be a spiritual practice of paying it forward for the benefit of others in need. Give thanks in advance for the favors to be received. Offer Masses, prayers and other spiritual exercises, sacrifices for those in need and go with the attitude of “praise/thanksgiving” for what is to come. There is much blessing in such disposition. The Lord says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (Jn 12; 24).
Widow's Mite example in Mark 12:34-44, shows that those who give from the heart, when it hurts, which means those who sacrifice something for a higher cause, receive divine approval.
The advice of Archangel Raphael to Tobit and Tobiah is spot-on and reveals the heavenly mindset regarding intercessory prayer, works of mercy and giving alms, gifts and gratitude:
“Praise God and give thanks to him; exalt him and give thanks to him in the presence of all the living for what he has done for you. It is good to praise God and to exalt his name, worthily declaring the works of God. Do not be slow to give him thanks. 7 It is good to guard the secret of a king, but gloriously to reveal the works of God. Do good, and evil will not overtake you. 8 Prayer is good when accompanied by fasting, almsgiving, and righteousness. A little with righteousness is better than much with wrongdoing. It is better to give alms than to treasure up gold. 9 For almsgiving delivers from death, and it will purge away every sin. Those who perform deeds of charity and of righteousness will have fulness of life; 10 but those who commit sin are the enemies of their own lives.
“I will not conceal anything from you. I have said, ‘It is good to guard the secret of a king, but gloriously to reveal the works of God.’ 12 And so, when you and your daughter-in-law Sarah prayed, I brought a reminder of your prayer before the Holy One; and when you buried the dead, I was likewise present with you. 13 When you did not hesitate to rise and leave your dinner in order to go and lay out the dead, your good deed was not hidden from me, but I was with you. 14 So now God sent me to heal you and your daughter-in-law Sarah. 15 I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One.” (Tobit 12:6-15)
An act or prayer of gratitude each day would be an excellent idea.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Saturday Week 9 Ordinary Time A: Tobit 12:1, 5-15, 20; Mark 12:38-44]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.