Grace to you and Happy Easter!
On this last day before the Sunday of Pentecost, let’s reflect on gratitude as a wonderful 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, texts messages or emails, emojis and mail. 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 demise 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 feel he wasn’t sincere. This 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 context of the Holy Spirit.
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 gifts are, therefore, like an instrument for something—promoting 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 are given. This is gratitude 101.
The using of the gifts for the reason they are given builds the community. In turn, the giver, the Holy Spirit builds us—we begin to bear much fruit. Hence we have the fruits of the Holy Spirit.
The fruits of the Holy Spirit are expressions of a life of gratitude in the receiver of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Such fruits like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, purity, etc., as Saint Paul listed in Galatians 5:22-23, build us, and 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. Those fruits, partly God’s gift, partly God’s grace and partly our response to these gifts, truly make us like God; or, rather, should I say, God’s special people, those living the life led by the Holy Spirit.
Oh Holy Spirit, as we come to the last day awaiting your renewing presence, remind me of the need to bear fruit, or should I say, harvest of the fruit which you give. I mean the fruit of joy so that my life will be that of joy; the fruit of love so that I love as you love.
I need the fruit of happiness and peace so I will be a steadfast instrument of peace, and also so that nothing will make me so sad as to lose hope and joy; the fruit of kindness and mercy so that others will see in me the heart of God’s kindness; 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 that lies will be stamped out 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.
Pray: O 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. Amen
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Saturday, Easter Weekday7: Acts 9:31-42; Jn 6:60=69]
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on the bible 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.