Dear Members, Companions, Volunteers, and Friends,
In the Preface at every Eucharist, the presider invites, “Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.” And the congregation responds, “It is right and just.” To live in right relationship with God and with one another is to live in a spirit of gratitude. When we live from a grateful heart, we are awake to the endless beauty and unlimited possibilities that surround us.
The leper in the gospel story from Luke (17, 11-19) lived from a grateful heart. When he becomes aware that he has been healed, he knows it is “right and just” to return and give thanks for being made whole again. It is the right thing to do.
Brother David Steindl-Rast writes, “The eyes of hope are grateful eyes. Before our eyes learned to look gratefully at the world, we expected to find beauty in good looking things. But grateful eyes expect the surprise of finding beauty in all things.”
There is so much suffering, pain, and loss in our world today that sometimes it is difficult to see the beauty. The fires in California continue to leave a scorched trail of death and destruction. Every day there are grim reminders of how gun violence continues to spiral out of control. In this Thanksgiving week alone, the murders at Mercy Hospital in Chicago and at the Catholic Supply bookstore in my hometown of St. Louis have taken the lives of people who were bringing hope and healing to our world. In our own community, we are mourning the loss of companions and loved ones whose empty chairs at the Thanksgiving table will call to mind many memories and stories of their spirit and love.
As we gather to celebrate Thanksgiving in these difficult times, may our grateful eyes see the graces and blessings we have received, the love we have shared, and the company we keep. In a world filled with so much hurt and hate, may our eyes of hope look for the beauty of each person we meet along the way. May our tables overflow with plenty of love as we share one another’s burdens and console one another in our grief.
With hope, may we write a note or send a text or email to let another know we are grateful for their presence in our lives. It only takes a minute—to give thanks. It is right and just.
With peace and gratitude,
Fr. Joe Nassal, C.PP.S.