Sr Phyllis Jaszkowiak
November 23, 2017
“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘Thank You’, that would suffice.” That is a quote from Meister Eckhart. A mystic of the 13th century.
Today we take time to give thanks, to God for all we have been given which is everything, and to everyone, all the people, through whom all God’s blessings have come to us. It is always good to give thanks, for giving thanks makes us healthier, makes the giver proud of what they have given, and puts a bit more happiness into the world.
But sometimes we forget to give thanks, or we don’t notice that thanks are due. In the Gospel story the ten lepers were cured. Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priests. “As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.”
Jesus’ question, “Were not ten made clean? Where are the other nine?’ is a question to ponder today. Why did just one return to give thanks? What about the other nine?
In the gospel, all ten lepers were on their way to the priests, for the priests had to declare the person whole, and healed, before they could rejoin the community. One realized he was healed. I think the other nine were so intent upon getting to the priests to be proclaimed whole, and healed, that they didn’t notice they were healed.
Sometimes we can be like the one who noticed he was healed, so immediately turned back to give thanks for this wonderful gift.
Sometimes we can be like the other nine, we don’t notice that a blessing has been given to us. We are so intent upon some other goal that we do not see, or feel, or notice what has just happened to us. So we plod on to whatever was our destination and never give thanks for the blessing we received.
We are, probably at different times in our lives, both, those who notice the gift and give thanks, and those who do not notice the gift.
So today I invite us to just list everything we are thankful for, from the biggest gift in our lives to the smallest gift. We might be thankful for our family, a job, a house over our heads, a country where we can exercise freedom, medicine that worked and we were healed. We might be thankful for the small things, a smile of a child, a grocery clerk who is efficient, an umbrella when it rains, someone who lets us into a traffic lane, someone who says thanks to us, or maybe just help with the household chores when we are tired.
So think of everything you are thankful for. There is paper in the pews, take it and begin to write down all you are thankful for, big and small items. We’ll take 3 minutes to begin this list. So begin to list all things for which you are thankful.
Okay time is up. Now let’s take a minute to share one or two of the thanks on your list with someone sitting close to you. Again time is up.
I would encourage you to take your list and continue to add to it, not just today but every day when you receive a blessing, big or small, noticed then, or realized later. Maybe share it today at your Thanksgiving meal. Or just take some time, perhaps as your prayer, to continue the list. There is no better way to enjoy Thanksgiving Day then by giving thanks.
Then maybe someday, you might thank all the people who gave you all the gifts on your list. And always remember “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘Thank You’, that would suffice.” Meister Eckhart.