The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

On the Road Thanksgiving

We're still on the road, up in New England making the rounds by visiting all the grandchildren and trying mightily to leave them a bit more spoiled than they were when we arrived. After our first week on Cape Cod visiting our elder daughter, her husband, and their five little ones, we've spent the past four days with our elder son, his wife, and our one-year-old granddaughter. Our routine didn't vary much, regardless of whom we were visiting. As doting grandparents we arrived each morning, played with grandchildren, took them out to eat a few times, enjoyed a picnic and a day at the zoo in Providence, played some more, and generally had a delightful time. Tomorrow we leave for North Andover, Massachusetts to visit our younger daughter and her family (husband and two boys) before heading back to Florida.

This morning, being Sunday, Diane and I attended Mass at St. George's Catholic Church in Westport, Massachusetts, just about a mile from our hotel. The celebrant, a priest who was brought up in the parish and has been ordained for ten years, had never celebrated Mass at St. George's until today. He had come this morning to baptize his grand niece and so we had a special treat right after the homily as we all celebrated the baptism of this beautiful little child.

After Mass Diane and I sat down for breakfast at a highly acclaimed local restaurant which neither of us thought worthy of the acclaim. Although the breakfast wasn't particularly noteworthy, there was a lot of it and so exceptional quantity and excellent service trumped the decidedly unexceptional quality and I left the restaurant happy. Later on we took our son and his family out to dinner at a local steak house and then played some more with our granddaughter. We finally returned to the hotel at 9 p.m., almost past our bedtime.

I suppose I shouldn't complain too much about the quality of the restaurant meals we consume during our trip. We should be thankful for our daily bread since so many do without. I was actually thinking about this last night after Evening Prayer. So much of my personal prayer is devoted to petition, always asking God for help or to fulfill my wants which I cleverly disguise as needs. A brief review of my past and current life and all its blessings should lead me to devote most of my prayer to thanksgiving. And yet, how infrequently I seem to thank God. Perhaps a daily prayer of thanksgiving, especially at night before bed, might help me  come to accept my total dependence on Father, Son and Spirit and the love of the Holy Trinity. Maybe this...
I thank you, Father, for life,
for the gift of my very being.
I thank you for this world
and for the incomprehensible
beauty and depth and breadth
of your creation.
I thank you for your love,
the love that is first cause,
the reason for all being,
a love that takes us beyond ourselves
and gives us hope for eternity.
I thank you for those I love
and for those who love me,
all brought into my life by you.
And, Father, I thank you
for your most remarkable gift,
the gift our your only Son.
What a display of love!
You let him humble himself
and by so doing lift us
to a dignity far beyond our worth.
I thank you, Jesus, for you,
the creative Word of God,
who became God's incarnate Word.
Yes, I thank you for the Incarnation,
the event of events
which binds all history,
the only event that makes sense
of every atom and moment of creation.
I thank you for your revealing Word,
the Sacred Word of Scripture,
the Apostolic Word of Tradition.
I thank you for the Gospel, 
for the Word made Love.
I thank you for your sacrifice,
the inexplicable giving of yourself
for my salvation and that of all.
I thank you for your Easter gift,
the gift of hope,
for extending our desperate lives
to eternal lives,
for your Resurrection and ours.
I thank you, Spirit, for your love,
for your unutterable groanings,
for love and life within the Trinity,
a love that offers a taste
of the Three Who Are One.
I thank you for your wisdom,
the gift you share with us,
the just-for-the-asking gift
that brings us understanding
and knowledge and counsel,
I thank you for the fortitude
you offer when courage runs
and hides and I with it,
when standing behind me
you seem so distant.
I thank you for offered piety,
a piety I so often fail to grasp.
I thank you for letting me
grow in fear of the Lord,
for the love that makes me
not want to offend you.
I thank you, Trinity, for all this
and for all that I will never know
until, through your mercy,
I enter into your life.
Praise God, now and forever...

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