Thursday, November 26, 2015

God Has Done Great Things for Us

By Beth DeCristofaro

And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth (Sirach 50:22)

… one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”  Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” (Luke 17:15-19)

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:  the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.
        Canticle of Mary (Magnificat)

We celebrate with family and friends on our official national Day of Thanksgiving.  We can celebrate Thanksgiving 365 days and nights a year with the many blessings our God gives us.  Living in Jerusalem Son of Sira (Ben Sira) loved the tradition of his forefathers in faith during the second century BC.  He wrote to spread the love, instruct others and to give thanks.  Mary’s beautiful prayer is from the lips of a young woman facing an uncertain future in a land occupied by soldiers but whose faith prompted giving thanks to her God.  Jesus recognized the faith proclaimed by an unbeliever.  God looks with favor on his lowly servants.

Today and every day, how can we proclaim our thanksgiving for the many favors God has bestowed?  When we are most irritated, afraid or uncertain, what are the blessings with which God surrounds us?  When we are most joyful, how do we share that joy?  Benedictine Br. David Steindl-Rast said:  “The greatest gift one can give is thanksgiving. In giving gifts, we give what we can spare, but in giving thanks we give ourselves.”   

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