A Thanksgiving Sacrifice

God’s Invitation to Gratitude

Dear Parishioners and Friends of the Co-Cathedral,

I am thankful for mornings. For me, the morning is probably one of the biggest tests of my day- I am one of those multiple alarms every five minutes kind of people. I don’t like to be awake when it is dark outside. But one benefit of waking up and shuffling to my cold kitchen to make tea is that I am able to watch the sun rise. And it is this one simple moment where I am reminded that every day is an invitation for me to see God at work in my life.

It has taken me time to move into this attitude of gratitude. A few years ago, I was in a period of unemployment. In lacking a clear profession, it became easy for me to feel as though I had nothing. Days seemed to stretch on without progress. I would ask God and myself if there was any hope or plan for me. And eventually, the time I spent in prayer began to feel like a very itchy sweater. I was so busy asking God to grant me what I didn’t have that I failed to see everything He had already given me. I began to thank God for everything from a stranger smiling at me to the first sip of tea in the morning. And through my gratitude, God began to change my day, my job search, my prayer, and even how I interacted with other people.

God invites us into a mysterious and life-changing relationship of thanksgiving through the celebration of the mass. At the heart of every mass is Jesus truly present in the Eucharist. In Greek, the word Eucharist means to give thanks, which re-frames the liturgy of the Eucharist to be a celebration of thanksgiving.

What does it mean to be thankful? When we break down the word, thankfulness has a meaning of being grateful, or even more simply to show good favor, to prefer something because it is pleasing to us. At every mass that we attend, we become united to Jesus and His Loving Sacrifice that sets us free from sin and allows us to truly live. When we celebrate the Eucharist, we are celebrating our ability to favor what is good- God. The ability to desire God arises from our union with Christ and His eternal sacrifice on the Cross, by which He draws us into Divine Life.

During mass, the offertory is an opportunity for us to unite ourselves as a community by giving our own lives alongside Jesus’. Gratitude is one way to make this symbolic gift. Gratitude is a grace. When we are open to thankfulness, we begin to see just how much God has given to each of us. These last couple years it has become so easy to live overwhelmed by the condition of the world. Every week we hear news that is shocking, disheartening, and at this point simply exhausting. Let us take a step back from this noise and rest in the Lord, reminding ourselves that God dwells in our midst.

There are cards available, and a survey online, as an invitation to take a step back and reflect on how God blesses each of us. Take the cards home and take a moment to rest and reflect. Then bring the filled-our cards back as part of the offering next Sunday.

So much of our faith is rooted in community and sharing our experiences with others. In the bible, we consistently see people who encounter Jesus telling all about it to everyone they meet, even when Jesus tells them to say nothing. Jesus is not asking you to be silent. The individual story can provide hope and encouragement to others. Do not be afraid to share how God is working in your life. As a community of believers, we are built up by our interactions with each other. St. Paul reminds us:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say Rejoice. Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Phillipians 3:4-7

Michelle Schmid

Director of Formation