Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! And we do always have so much to be thankful for!
When we think on it, thanksgiving is the language of heaven and all of our favorite saints were proficient at this most joyous virtue. This morning, I was mindful of this as I read the following from dear Saint Catherine, who personifies thanksgiving in all she writes:
“Oh! Good! oh! Eternal Greatness! You made Yourself low and small to make man great. On whichever side I turn I find nothing but the abyss and fire of Your charity. And can a wretch like me pay back to You the graces and the burning charity that You have shown and show with so much burning love in particular to me beyond common charity, and the love that You show to all Your creatures?
. . . You alone, most sweet and amorous Father, are He who will be thankful and grateful for me, that is, that the affection of Your charity itself will render You thanks, because I am she who is not, and if I spoke as being anything of myself, I should be lying by my own head, and should be a lying daughter of the Devil, who is the father of lies, because You alone are He who is. And my being and every further grace that You have bestowed upon me, I have from You, who give them to me through love, and not as my due.
I do not wish, oh! Eternal Father, ineffable Fire of Love, that my heart should ever grow weary, or my eyes fail through tears, in desiring Your honor and the salvation of souls, but I beg of You, by Your grace, that they may be as two streams of water issuing from You, the Sea Pacific. Thanks, thanks to You, oh! Father, for having granted me that which I asked You and that which I neither knew nor asked; for by thus giving me matter for grief, You have invited me to offer before You sweet, loving, and yearning desires, with humble and continual prayer.
Now I beg of You that You will do mercy to the world and to the holy Church. I pray You to fulfill that which You caused me to ask You. Alas! what a wretched and sorrowful soul is mine, the cause of all these evils. Do not put off any longer Your merciful designs towards the world, but descend and fulfill the desire of Your servants. “Ah me! You cause them to cry in order to hear their voices! Your truth told us to cry out, and we should be answered; to knock, and it would be opened to us; to beg, and it would be given to us.
Oh! Eternal Father, Your servants do cry out to Your mercy; do You then reply. I know well that mercy is Your own attribute, wherefore You can not destroy it or refuse it to him who asks for it. Your servants knock at the door of Your truth, because in the truth of Your only-begotten Son they know the ineffable love which You have for man, wherefore the fire of Your love ought not and cannot refrain from opening to him who knocks with perseverance. Wherefore open, unlock, and break the hardened hearts of Your creatures, not for their sakes who do not knock, but on account of Your infinite goodness, and through love of Your servants who knock at You for their sakes. Grant the prayer of those, Eternal Father who, as You see, stand at the door of Your truth and pray.
For what do they pray? For with the Blood of this door – Your truth – have You washed our iniquities and destroyed the stain of Adam’s sin. The Blood is ours, for You have made it our bath, wherefore You can not deny it to any one who truly asks for it. Give, then, the fruit of Your Blood to Your creatures. Place in the balance the price of the blood of Your Son, so that the infernal devils may not carry off Your lambs. You are the Good Shepherd who, to fulfill Your obedience, laid down His life for Your lambs, and made for us a bath of His Blood.
That Blood is what Your hungry servants beg of You at this door, begging You through it to do mercy to the world, and to cause Your holy Church to bloom with the fragrant flowers of good and holy pastors, who by their sweet odor shall extinguish the stench of the putrid flowers of sin.
You have said, Eternal Father, that through the love which You have for Your rational creatures, and the prayers and the many virtues and labors of Your servants, You would do mercy to the world, and reform the Church, and thus give us refreshment; wherefore do not delay, but turn the eye of Your mercy towards us, for You must first reply to us before we can cry out with the voice of Your mercy. Open the door of Your inestimable love which You have given us through the door of Your Word. I know indeed that You open before even we can knock, for it is with the affection of love which You have given to Your servants, that they knock and cry to You, seeking Your honor and the salvation of souls.
Give them then the bread of life, that is to say, the fruit of the Blood of Your only-begotten Son, which they ask of You for the praise and glory of My name and the salvation of souls. For more glory and praise will be Yours in saving so many creatures, than in leaving them obstinate in their hardness of heart. To You, Eternal Father, everything is possible, and even though You have created us without our own help, You will not save us without it.
I beg of You to force their wills, and dispose them to wish for that for which they do not wish; and this I ask You through Your infinite mercy. You have created us from nothing; now, therefore, that we are in existence, do mercy to us, and remake the vessels which You have created to Your image and likeness. Re-create them to Grace in Your mercy and the Blood of Your Son sweet Christ Jesus.”
(St Catherine of Siena. “The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena.”)
Did you notice her words?
“Thanks, thanks to You, oh! Father, for having granted me that which I asked You and that which I neither knew nor asked; for by thus giving me matter for grief, You have invited me to offer before You sweet, loving, and yearning desires, with humble and continual prayer.”
See how she thanks God for giving her “matter for grief”, thus acknowledging the treasures of grace to be found in our crosses. This is wisdom! How practical is this saint!
Another point, think how the good and wise saint begins with thanksgiving, especially remarking that even the fact that she is able to thank God is a gratuitous act of mercy on His part – for we, on our own, are not able to do so much as thank Him – it is He who grants us this grace before we even are able to conceive the thought. But this grace, the gratuitous gift of God, is available to us all from the loving Providence of Our Father in heaven. Let us rejoice and be glad!
We are being granted tremendous graces in this time of crisis – let us resolve to thank God for them and not allow a single cross to pass without bearing fruit in us, for the salvation of many souls is here for the asking! Let us rejoice and be glad, thanking God in all things!
(Source: “Return to Fatima”)