Thursday, August 11, 2011

Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart

It is that time of year again. Time for new students, the first all-school mass, BC football games, fantasy football, the feeling of being refreshed form a summer of vacationing and relaxing, and the feeling like I am ready to engage in a serious battle for souls. I LOVE the start of the school year. The fall semester is always a time of new beginnings and there is an excitement in the air to see what God is going to do and accomplish through me and all His other humble servants at Bishop Carroll this year.

The one thing that runs through my mind as this school year starts is gratitude. I am thankful for my beautiful wife and the fact that we have celebrated one year of marriage. I am thankful for the amazing amount of support that exists in my life through my family, my friends, and the Knights of the Holy Queen. I am thankful for my job and the Bishop Carroll Community, especially at a time where so many people I know are without one. I am thankful for Fr. Ben and blessing he will be. God has truly blessed us with an amazing chaplain this year. I am thankful for the opportunity to teach and preach God's word every single day. I could not imagine doing anything else at this point in my life. Getting the opportunity to be on the front lines of God's battlefield by bringing the souls of young people to Christ is truly one of the greatest joys I have in my life.

I think that so often we look at all the negative in our lives without focusing on all the amazing gifts God is showering upon us daily. God has called us into this life and everyday has to be seen as a gift. If we don't start there we are not going to be able to evangelize anyone. If we cannot bear witness to the good things God gives us how can we bring people to Him? Complaining about the negatives in life has always been a struggle of mine and I have just really been reflecting over the last several months about how I truly have nothing to complain about. In the grand scheme of things the struggles and difficulties I encounter throughout my life are so minimal compared to what some people deal with that it really is almost sinful of me to complain about anything. I want to make a serious effort over this next year to root this out of my life. I need to look at those minor challenges and annoyances as opportunities to recognize the good things God has done in my life and ask Him what He is trying to teach me in those circumstances.

Everyday is a gift. Every moment is a chance to see the beauty of God and to enter into the drama of creation. We are called to engage this life with joy and passion. "The Glory of God is man fully alive!" said St. Irenaeus, and man fully alive is man experiencing and embracing EVERYTHING about life and giving glory to his creator for letting him experience it! Too many people have a negative outlook on life and if we live as Disciples of Christ with an attitude of gratitude then we are going to change and affect the world. Thankfulness is what will lead us and propel us to help and love those who need it. Thankfulness will draw us into the heart of our Father so that we may worship Him. The very heart of our worship is the Eucharist and Eucharist literally means thank offering!

How beautiful are your ways O God even when we don't understand them. How beautiful are your ways O God even when they cause suffering and frustration. How beautiful are your ways O God that allow us to experience this life and all that it brings!

I begin the new school year a week from today. I pray that God would use me to affect and change the lives of my students. I pray that when they see me they see Christ and when I look at them I may see Christ in them. I pray that I would lead them and be an example of someone with a grateful heart!

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