Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians. 5:18
Giving thanks in pleasant situations doesn’t often pose any challenge on the path of any believer; it is always easy to show appreciation for favours received and for blessings bestowed. This is however not always the case when the situations that confront us is unpleasant and saddening. When unpleasant things happen to us, at the death of a loved one, served with a dismissal letter, just informed that we are infected with an incurable disease, badly hurt from an automobile accident, traumatized by the effects of a natural disaster, when hunger wreaks our flesh and our family due to economic recession, been stigmatized and traumatized by the effects of the evil actions of others, the last thing we could probably think of is to give thanks to God. At such moments, prayer of thanksgiving is often, beyond being difficult, impossible and inconceivable. Saint Paul having admonished that prayers be offered continually (1 Thess. 5:17) added that our prayers of thanksgiving should be in all circumstances. Prayer of thanksgiving, therefore, becomes a necessary condition for fruitfulness in our service to God.
When thorns pierce us we feel the pains. Thus was the experience of Paul who was given a thorn in the flesh (2 Cor. 12:17). In the midst of such thorns we can truly be grateful when we realize that every of those experiences has a redemptive and salvific value. Our thorns are always used by God to build us up. Thus, whatever God permits to happen to a believer is for our good and to our advantage. Realizing therefore that God is involved in our every experience of life gives us courage to say “Thank you, Jesus” for the loss of a loved one, joblessness, childlessness, hunger, strife, afflictions, pains, imperfections, perceived failures, setbacks, automobile accidents, pestilence, drought, persecutions, incurable disease or infection and the likes. Indeed, our true and authentic happiness lies not solely in doing what God wants but in delighting in what God does. When this happens we find it less burdensome to thank God for our “roses” no less than our “thorns”. Let’s conclude this reflection with the words of Edmund Burke thus: “He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skills. Our antagonist is our helper.” John Chrysostom points out also that, “Under all circumstances, whether afflictive or otherwise, let us give thanks to God. For both are beneficial. He does nothing in hatred or enmity to us, but all things from care and consideration of us.”
MASS: WHITE 1 Pt 5: 1-4; Ps 23: 1-3a. 4. 5. 6; Mt 16: 13-19 CHAIR OF PETER, AP F
- Take this prayer with George Matheson: Thou, Divine Love, whose human path has been perfected through sufferings, teach me the glory of my cross, teach me the value of my thorn. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow. Reveal to me that my strength was a product of that hour when I wrestled until the breaking of the day. Then shall I know that my thorn was blessed by Thee, then shall I know that my cross was a gift from Thee, and I shall raise a monument to the hour of my sorrows, and the words which I shall write upon it will be these: “It was good for me to have been afflicted.” Amen.
- Thank God for those specific events of your life you were not particularly happy about.
EXERCISE: Thank God for everything and anything that happens to you today.
Meditation: Psalm 119:71