Each morning, I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, the communal prayer of the Church. Before I begin I pray my own personal prayers. My prayer follows a pattern. I fight the urge to ask for something for myself right away, but instead begin with prayers of gratitude. I follow this by praying for the needs of others and finally, praying for my own needs.
As we enter the Thanksgiving holiday, I reflect on all those prayers of gratitude I have shared with God over the past year. While I occasionally thank God for small victories – we paid our bills this month, our basement didn’t flood with the last heavy rain, a conflict was resolved, etc. – more often than not I find myself thanking God for the people He has put in my life.
When I count my blessings, I count people. I am blessed to have Carol, my best friend who said “I do” at the altar over 34 years ago. I am blessed to have the four best kids in the world as my children. (You may think your own children are the best in the world, but please note that they could not possibly rank any higher than 5th) I am blessed with six awesome grandchildren and another on the way. A mother who died before her time, my Dad who has passed, my stepmother Donna, a bunch of siblings, the Sullivan family, and on and on…
I am blessed to have been and continue to be a part of some wonderful faith communities at St. Pius X Parish, Our Lady of Fatima Retreat House, Guerin Catholic HS, and Bishop Chatard HS. All of these communities are gifts not because of the buildings or the “stuff,” but because of the people who fill those pews, offices, hallways, and classrooms.
My prayer of gratitude usually sound something like this:
Lord, thank you for the gift of family.
Thank you for the people, both those living and those with You,
who have impacted my life.
Thank you for the opportunity to worship and work in places where there are people
who make me better by simply being around them.
Thank you for putting people in my life who challenge me.
I know that I am blessed and I pray to stay mindful of paying it forward.
I pray that there are others who are thanking you today for some small
impact I have made on their lives.
In gratitude, I pray.
May you and your family enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and take time to reflect on the many blessings – the many people – God has put in your lives.