Monday, March 16, 2015

Fourth Monday of Lent: Our Grateful Response

“Hear, O Lord, and have pity on me;
O Lord, be my helper.
You changed my mourning into dancing;
O Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks.” Ps. 30:11-13

Many of us have had faith conversion or deepening experiences after a tragedy in our life. Perhaps a death in our family opens our eyes to the realization of our affection for a loved one that only became apparent after he or she has passed to the other side of eternity. Maybe the dissolution of a marriage have caused us to question if love really does conquer all. Perhaps losing our job brings to light the fallacy of our ability to control everything. In the depth of our despair when no explanation is sufficient and no well-intentioned consoling words bring comfort, we cry out, “O Lord, have pity on me!” This period of turning back to God and the awareness of our poverty and dependence on Him is a great gift and an opportunity for a deepening relationship with God.

We may develop a richer prayer life where tears of initial sorrow and subsequent joy flow freely. We may rekindle relationships with our family and friends that have been neglected. But what happens when we stop mourning and are able to stand up, walk, and finally dance again? Do we squander the graces we received by reverting to our old ways of thinking and living? Do we treat God as a parent who we only acknowledge when we need something and then who becomes an afterthought when things are going well? St. Ignatius said that the deadliest sin is ingratitude. This speaks to the nature of God: He is generous. He is lavish in His kindness. If we truly understood His generosity, we would return His love with love. We would be as the Psalmist who exclaims, “O Lord, forever will I give you thanks!”

O Lord, open my eyes to the ways you constantly gift me in both challenging and flourishing times that my response to your graces may be love and gratitude.

Reflected by Michael Jamnongjit

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