Holy Family

Holy Family

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Feast of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and his Companions

Good morning. Strewn amongst a variety of other things Father Anthony used to entertain the troops in his homily at last night's Thanksgiving Mass, he offered a challenge for everyone to consider what they were most grateful for, using the parable of the Thankful Leper from the Gospel to reinforce his point. His audience was the youth of the parish as this was one of several times throughout the year the parish has a liturgical gathering with a specific focus on the youth. He invited the young people to look about their room in the morning and to decide what amongst their various possessions they were most grateful for, and to ask themselves who should they be grateful to for their having that particular item. I thought at the time of reaching over and grasping a hold of Linda’s hand as it occurred to me that if I were to engage in this same exercise she would surely be the ‘object’ in the room that I’d be most grateful for, and of course the response to the second part of the exercise would be God whom I need to thank. As it turns out Linda fell asleep on the couch watching various taped Thanksgiving specials last night, It's A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving
  certainly being one of them, but all the same I paused this morning and offered thanks to the One responsible for all that I have to be grateful for. Thank you Father Anthony for the idea!

Ya know, spiritual exercises such as this seem to be quite effective in doing several things. For starters it brings me closer to God. This Blog, CatholicFamilyToday, is part of a spiritual ritual which I engage in daily and it not only works to bring me closer to God, it likewise brings me closer to my wife and my children. This reflection exercise which I engage in every morning in the quiet time before others awake not only allows me to become closer to others, it guides me in my work and it helps me be a more appreciative of everything that surrounds my life. It helps me develop a more healthy perspective. A very clear effect of this daily morning ritual of prayer, scripture and writing I engage in is that it broadens my outlook beyond just myself and it enriches my love for my wife and others, and it energizes me spiritually and emotionally, which is why I was not at all surprised in reading a recent article that indicated that a grateful outlook is good for our health. In the Science Section of Monday’s New York Times an article by John Tierney, A Serving of Gratitude May Save the Day notes that people who make a conscious effort to be more grateful tend to be “more optimistic” and “happier.” Of particular interest was that the research notes physical health benefits to maintaining a more grateful outlook. It is no wonder that the Bible is replete with scripture passages which note the importance of being grateful. The Psalmist reminds us, “Give thanks to the LORD for he is good, his mercy endures forever!” For more visit Open Bible Info.

Without a doubt a spiritually and emotionally healthy life requires gratitude, without it we are unable to appreciate His goodness in our lives and we would miss seeing the goodness in each other. A healthy marriage requires an attitude of gratitude. It is easy to allow our minds to become clogged with the problems we may face in our marriage and day-to-day lives, but a deliberate effort at maintaining a grateful attitude helps us stay clear of all the negativity waiting to fill our thoughts. It is all a matter of perspective. Each sunrise presents a new opportunity for growth in our marriage. “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice in it and be glad.” A deliberated effort at focusing upon those things we should be grateful for in our marriages offers an opportunity to experience joy beyond our imagining. It’s all a matter of perspective. So, let us be thankful today. Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Make a great day!

Today we recall the good lives, gifts, and works of Saint Andrew Dung-Lac and his Companions who were martyrs for the faith. In addition to the numerous things we have to be grateful for certainly the 117 Vietnamese Martyrs and all the Saints and Martyrs whose lives have established a pathway for our own journey should be included. For this we are grateful.

The Tear in the Shade.
I tore the new pale window shade 
with slightly more than a half-inch tear. 
I knew the Lady would be shocked to see 
what I had done with such finality. 
I went outside to lose my worry there. 
Later when I came back into the room 
it seemed that nothing but the tear was there.
There had been furniture, a rug, and pictures, 
and on the table flowers in purple bloom. 
It was amazing how they dwindled, dwindled, 
and how the tear grew until it filled the room.

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