Grace to you and Happy Easter!
On this last day before the Sunday of Pentecost, let's reflect on gratitude as a beautiful response to the gifts.
Gratitude is a necessary expectation of any gift or gifts. There are many ways people say thank you. Thank you cards, text messages or emails, emojis, and mails. Others reciprocate gifts with yet another gift to the giver, while many give back by service. By so doing, the line of mutual gift-giving continues.
The story of the raising of Tabitha (Dorcas) from death by Saint Peter (Acts 9:31-42) is an example of how a generous heart that gives receives life in return. Giving back is a gesture of gratitude.
Lack of gratitude can be the death of gift-giving and goodwill. You know how it feels when you spend time getting a gift for somebody, and the person does not say thank you. Or even if he does, you sense he wasn't sincere. It can hurt, can't it?
Let's not think it hurts the Holy Spirit if we do not reciprocate his gifts. What it does is disconnect us from the constant flow of gifts.
See what I mean by understanding what "thank you" or gratitude would mean in the Holy Spirit's context. The coming of the Holy Spirit is to strengthen and empower us to bear witness to Christ. All the gifts enhance this central mission. The giftings are, therefore, an instrument for something. They are to promote the kingdom of God, which is grace and mercy through salvation in Christ, leading to the forming of the community of faith as the family of salvation. Hence, the receiver appreciates the gifts when they are used for the reason they have been given. It is gratitude 101.
The use of the gifts for the reason God gave them builds the community. In turn, the giver, the Holy Spirit strengthens and renews us—we begin to bear much fruit. Hence we have the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Fruits of the Spirit are expressions of the life of gratitude in anyone when they receive the Holy Spirit and the gifts. Such fruits such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, purity, etc., as Saint Paul listed in Galatians 5:22-23, build us. They are a life of gratitude to God for all He has done for us. Fruits of the Holy Spirit enhance our spiritual growth as individuals.
Therefore, a true Novena to the Holy Spirit builds us in such a way as to bear fruits. In part, those fruits, God's gift, and grace, and our response to these gifts truly make us more like God. Or, rather, should I say, they make us God's special people, those living the life led by the Holy Spirit.
As we come to the last day awaiting your renewing presence; Holy Spirit, remind me of the need to bear fruit, or should I say, harvest the fruit you give. I mean the fruit of joy so that my life will be that of joy, the fruit of love that I love as you love.
I need the fruit of happiness and peace so that I will be a steadfast instrument of peace and so that nothing will make me so sad as to lose hope and joy.
Grant me the fruit of kindness and mercy so that others will see in me the heart of God's kindness.
Bless me with the fruit of forgiveness so that I will no longer hold on to hurts; instead, so that I may be free and set people free from hurts.
I also ask for the fruit of truthfulness, so I will stamp out lies from all that I do and say.
Make me live with such gratitude so that everything I do will glorify you, the Father and the Son. Amen.
Oh, Holy Spirit, welcome into my heart. Make me an instrument of your love and grace. Use me. Lead me. Inspire me. Amen. May my life be a big Thank You to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. May it be another you in the community in which I live and work. Amen
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Readings, Saturday of the Seventh Week of Easter: Acts 9:31-42; John 6:60=69]
Author and Goal
Father Maurice Emelu Ph.D., provides a daily blog of reflections based on the Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. The goal is to teach, inspire, encourage, and foster healing through the grace of God's word. They are written in a language that is appropriate for a general audience. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration, and developing your thoughts. They may also be useful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.