This past summer, as part of my Diaconate formation, I was blessed to be able to volunteer at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen in Detroit. Each Saturday I was able to lead prayer and to walk around sharing stories with the guests. This sharing and listening to one another was so pleasing and made me always feel so welcome. Technically I was serving, but what I was really doing was showing gratitude.
“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.”
The excerpt from this week’s Gospel from Luke reminds us of the gratitude we should show to the Lord for his many blessings and graces. The word gratitude actually comes from the Latin root “gratus” meaning pleasing or welcoming. I think it’s beautiful, and not a coincidence, that the same root, Gratus, is the root for the word “grace.”
I’ve always liked the statement: grace is the power, beauty and love of God that is always around us; while gratitude is what gives us the eyes to see the grace. What helps us open our eyes to all of our blessings/graces -Gratitude or Service.
For me, one of the biggest “eye-openers” to grace was when I spent about a year taking the Eucharist to a home bound gentlemen. We spent every Tuesday together over lunch. I was blessed to listen and share stories about our relationships with the Lord. Again, technically this was service, but it really was showing gratitude to the Lord for the countless blessings and graces he has provided.
“Let us remember the past with gratitude, live the present with enthusiasm and look forward to the future with confidence.” (Pope John Paul II) I challenge each and everyone to take a moment this week to pray and ponder how we as a community can show gratitude through service. It can be as simple as a phone call to a loved one to share stories or even just sitting down with someone to share a meal.