I just went to confession to a great priest and friend…once again experiencing the kindness of the Lord. For my penance he asked me to list 5 or 10 “things or people” for which I am thankful to God. Wow, penances don’t get any easier than that. My list is endless…God has been so good to me…. I have so much to be grateful for…. the tougher part is “where to begin”. Well, let me get the ball rolling.
Putting “first things first”, I thank God for God…for being the absolute best. God is love ! “The LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin ….” (Ex. 34:6)
I thank God for my wonderful family….
- For my beautiful and holy wife.
- For our great children, their spouses, and our grandchildren
- For my mother and father and my wife’s mother and father….and our siblings
I thank God for so many holy friends…men and women. This includes a number of men who have been spiritual fathers and mentors to me. The examples of these men and women have helped us keep on the narrow path to heaven.
I thank God for the Church. I have lived under 7 popes….. Pope Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and now Francis. Three are canonized saints. Plus how many other great saints were living during my lifetime ….Mother Teresa, Padre Pio, Katherine Drexel, Solanus Casey….
And the list goes on and on…. I thank God for my country and all who gave their life to make it a great nation. I thank God for the People of Hope , the Catholic Charismatic Community to which I belong, a gift of God to the church, to me and our family and to many others. I thank God for the many other “new movements” in the church. I thank God for my health, for the jobs I’ve had over the years that helped me provide for my family, etc.
So I’d like to pass on my “penance” to you. Thank God for at least 10 things/people that have blessed you. I know you can do it. And there’s something about “gratitude” …. it takes our eyes off ourselves and puts them on God and others. In doing so, peace comes, joy comes, and anxiety flees. Give it a try and see if it’s not true. Wow, I see that smile creeping onto your face even now. And that is very good news.