In the United States, it is Thanksgiving day. It is a time to be with family and friends. We tend to eat a lot and remember our blessings. Are you thankful? Increasingly, we tend to worry and count those areas of our life where we are struggling. But, are we really thankful? We should be. Being thankful actually benefits us in so many ways. Current science indicates that the habit of gratefulness - or thankfulness - makes us happier and healthier. It brings Grace to our lives. A daily gratefulness habit can pay hefty dividends. I have certainly found this in my life. Try it! You will be blessed by it.
Each moment is a Sacrament for us to behold. For those of us raised in the Catholic Church we learned about the Sacraments. We were told that those experiences pointed us to God. We believed they brought us special Grace and Joy. Whenever we allow ourselves to do so through these experiences, we certainly can feel and witness God’s special presence. But only in those experiences? I don’t think so. Each and every moment offers the Grace of God. Each and every moment can be sacred - if we can only allow ourselves to believe and see it. We want the present moment to be somehow different and “feel sacred”. Why? Can’t we just be open and present to whatever God is now giving us? If we can, we can feel and see and be a part of the Truly Sacred!
We only need faith the size of a mustard seed! That is not much. But, Jesus reminds us (Luke 17:1-6) that is all we need to have a real impact on the world around us. This is both encouraging - and a bit scary. I am encouraged to seek it - and responsible to use it wisely. It is important to ask myself daily if I am doing so. Do I seek time with the Lord so that my faith may increase? Do I use my small mustard seed size faith to positively change the world around me? What more could I do to both increase my faith and impact the world? Important questions for me each day. Important questions for the world around us.
In today’s Gospel reading from the Mass (Luke 14:25-33), Jesus reminds us that to be His disciple we must take up our crosses. For me, it is the little and larger things in life that I do not have answers for. Living in them and waiting for the answers faithfully is how I become a disciple of Jesus. We are all called to live faithfully and patiently within the challenges that come our way. To do so with joy in Christ is our calling.
Today is All Saints Day and our Gospel reading is the Beatitudes from Matthew 5:1-12a. It is so appropriate for Jesus to tell us who are the Blessed. They may not be the ones our society thinks are blessed. How may of us want to be poor in spirit, hunger and thirst for righteousness, meek or even peacemakers? Certainly most do not want to be persecuted. And yet, Jesus says they are blessed. Jesus tells us about an upside down world. And the Saints, who are celebrated and hidden demonstrate so many of these traits in their lives. May we recall Jesus’ words and our beloved Saints today. How Blessed we are if we do.