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Lenten Reflection, Week of March 19

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Let us come before Him with thanksgiving. (Psalm 92:2)

Cicero rightly observed that "Gratitude is not only the greatest of all the virtues, it is the parent of all others." But how grateful are we? Do we even know how to be grateful?

How many thank God for their pillow? I have seen many who lay their heads down upon a sidewalk. I have seen limestone being used as a pillow.

And how many thank God for the luxury of a warm shower? Have you any idea how many people do not get to take a shower in the morning, much less a warm one?

How many thank God for their clean underwear in the morning? How many thank God for the change in their pockets that allows them to purchase a coffee? I know many people for whom a cup of coffee is a luxury.

Despite whatever little emotional quirks you may have, have you ever thanked God with tears for the soundness of your own mind? I see the unsound of mind every day on my street and at our morning Mass.

A Christian should never get out of bed without thanking God for his or her bed, home or the chance to live that day. Christians should not close their eyes at night without thanking God for the 10 million and more mercies bestowed throughout the day.

Lenten fasting, abstinence, or sacrifice, what of it? If it is not done in absolute gratitude, then cut it off. It is worthless. 

The graces of gratitude are boundless. The evils of ingratitude know no end.

Meister Eckhart once said, "If the only prayer you said in your whole life was 'thank you,' that would suffice." This Lent, we might ask ourselves, "How grateful am I, really?"

Fr. Matt Ruhl, SJ

Father Matthew Ruhl, SJ, is pastor of St. Martin de Porres Parish in Belize City, Belize. Find out more about his work here and here





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The Ignatian Spirituality Program of Denver offers Ignatian group retreats, individual spiritual direction, the Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life, and trains spiritual directors and guides of the Spiritual Exercises.