Have you ever found that most of your prayers involve asking God for things, blessings, etc., for yourself and your loved ones? If so, I can relate. I find that a lot of my time in prayer is petitioning God. I don’t think that is such a bad thing. At least it means that we are reaching out to him and that we realize our utter dependence upon him for every good thing. Realizing this dependence on God is a big part of what it means to fulfill the first of the beatitudes, namely, being “poor in spirit.”
But we are called to more. God creates us to be in communion with him and others. He wants to draw us to himself with cords of love. Do we spend a portion of our prayer each day in praise and adoration of him, the only true God? Do we pray in contrition to him, as an act of sorrow for having offended him by our sins? This is why a daily Act of Contrition is so important. Finally, we thank our human friends for the goodness and kindnesses that they extend to us. It is good to regularly pray in thanksgiving to God for all the many blessings that he so gratuitously gives us.
I’m sure that each of us could come up with our own little thanksgiving lists that would probably have some similarities and differences. With this in mind, and with the Thanksgiving season here, what follows is a little personal litany of thanksgiving. There is so much more that I could list, but time and space and energy limit what can be put in any one column or even series of columns. That said, here goes:
- For the solar systems, the earth, and all planets…thank you, Lord!
- For sun, moon, stars, blue skies, clouds, rain, snow, dew, and frost…thank you, Lord!
- For mountains, valleys, hamlets, and plains…thank you, Lord!
- For oceans, rivers, streams, brooks, lakes, and ponds…thank you, Lord!
- For the great variety of trees, flowers, vegetation, and plants…thank you, Lord!
- For dogs, cats, insects, caterpillars, butterflies, birds, and fish…thank you, Lord!
- For creating all the different colors…thank you, Lord!
- For clean water, hot and cold…thank you, Lord!
- For nutritious food, that you also made to taste good…thank you, Lord!
- For all of your wondrous creation…thank you, Lord!
- For our country, the United States of America, and for our freedoms…thank you, Lord!
- For cities, towns, and the countryside…thank you, Lord!
- For a warm house and clothes with which to stay warm…thank you, Lord!
- For life, especially human life…thank you, Lord!
- For making human beings in your image, little less than the angels…thank you, Lord!
- For making us body and soul composites…thank you, Lord!
- For gifts and talents you have given, which are all from your hand…thank you, Lord!
- For those who serve valiantly in our military and all who protect us…thank you, Lord!
- For those who serve the common good in any way…thank you, Lord!
- For our neighbors and all who have done us acts of kindness… thank you, Lord!
- For my co-workers…thank you, Lord!
- For friends, need I say more?…thank you, Lord!
- For difficult people, for providing us opportunities to grow in holiness…thank you, Lord!
- For all people of good will…thank you, Lord!
- For my relatives, who bring so much spice, fun, and enjoyment to life…thank you, Lord!
- For my mom and dad, whom I can never repay…thank you, Lord!
- For my brother and sisters and their families, so dear to me…thank you, Lord!
- For my dear wife and our precious children…thank you, Lord!
- For our dear faithful departed…thank you, Lord!
- For our holy father and the gift of the papacy…thank you, Lord!
- For our bishop and the gift of the episcopacy…thank you, Lord!
- For our priests, deacons, and consecrated religious…thank you, Lord!
- For the deposit of faith…thank you, Lord!
- For the Eucharist, which means “thanksgiving,” and all the sacraments…thank you, Lord!
- For the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…thank you, Lord!
- For the gift of prayer…thank you, Lord!
- For the diversity of saints, who intercede and act as models for us…thank you, Lord!
- For the angels, who watch over us, serve you and sing your praises…thank you, Lord!
- For our Blessed Mother, our Mother in Heaven and Queen of All Saints…thank you, Lord!
- For your Incarnation…thank you, Lord
- For your Passion, Death, Resurrection, and Ascension…thank you, Lord!
- For the sending of the Holy Spirit…thank you, Lord!
- For the holy, Catholic Church…thank you, Lord!
- For the communion of saints…thank you, Lord!
- For the forgiveness of sins…thank you, Lord!
- For the resurrection of the body and life everlasting…thank you, Lord!
- And especially, to our one, triune God…thank you for Yourself!
“Now thank we all our God, with heart, and hands, and voices!”
(Jim Gontis is the Director of the Diocesan Office for Evangelization and Catechesis, and the Director of Sports Ministry for the Diocese of Harrisburg.)
By Jim Gontis, Special to The Witness