How can we sincerely say “thanks” to our Heavenly Father? Well, thankfully our Creator has given us a lot of ways to do just that.
Here Are Five Of Them:
1. Go to Mass
Sure, you know the word “eucharist” is from the Greek for “thanksgiving” or “gratitude.” But, of course, uppercase-“E” Eucharist refers to Mass and the Blessed Sacrament. When the Catechism of the Catholic Church asks “What is this sacrament called?” its first answer is “Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God.”
Great! Go to Mass. A done deal. Next.
Not so fast. It’s an action of thanksgiving, which actually means us doing something there besides stand, sit, kneel, walk up for Communion, stay for a closing hymn and head out the door. Without our actively taking part in the Mass — praying with others, offering our own private prayers, reverently receiving the Blessed Sacrament, joining in the singing — then we’re pretty much like that child blurting a fast and nearly thoughtless “thank you” to please their Mom.
2. Do what Jesus told us to do
What does that mean for us? Yes, he said take part in the breaking of the bread in memory of him (Lk 22:19), but he also said something about “love one another as I have loved you” (Jn 13:34).
What better way to show gratitude for the gift of faith than to live the Faith? How do we live it? Love as Jesus loved. And how do we do that? Find out by spending some time this year — each month, each week, each day — reading about how he did it. Spend time “praying” the Gospels.
Then, too, living the Faith — living our gratitude to God — means living the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Sometimes that can be specifically difficult, but other times it’s pretty simple. Small choices throughout the day can develop over time into virtuous habits that make us more inclined and better prepared to tackle those tough opportunities.
3. Don’t put a gift from God in your sock drawer
What? most times we receive a gift from a family member or friend and quietly tuck it away in a dresser drawer. It’s not something we need, want, know how to use or even like.
When we do that with a gift from God it runs counter to what Jesus taught in the Parable of the Talents (Mt 25:14-30). The lesson? Use what God gives you!
Sometimes a gift becomes a profession, but, not inconsistently, it’s an avocation. (You’re the one who supplies those marvelous casseroles for funeral receptions.)
Observe the talents God has given you, develop them, and use them to assist others.
4. Say ‘thank you’ to others … and mean it
Consider this: In explaining the Last Judgment, Jesus said, “What you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me” (Mt 25:45). So part of what you can simply do for others throughout this new year, which is this gift from God, is to thank them. “Thank you” to the store clerk. Your child’s teacher. The Sunday homilist. And on and on.
5. Write it down
This makes a great New Year’s resolution. One that’s is not impossible to keep track of.
Even those who hold little stock in religion or spirituality have discovered keeping a daily journal or log of people, events and things for which they’re thankful assists them mentally and physically.
You — lucky you, thank God — have that added layer or, more clearly, that foundation of Catholicism. Jotting down a few things at the end of every day can be a prayer of thanksgiving. Why? Because you know the source of all goodness, blessings, grace, and love.