I was recently privy to a Facebook exchange between my friend, Michelle, and one of her friends. Michelle is going through a difficult pregnancy and we are all fervently praying for her and her wee one. Her friend offered words of hope by sharing her own, albeit very different, story that had a scary middle but a positive outcome. The relief of being washed with renewed hope was evident in Michelle’s response – even in the written word. We, humans, are fragile like that. Our fear of both the known and unknown is at times palatable.
I remember being in the inner circle of cancer fighters – back in my ‘newbie’ days of surgeries and chemotherapy. Then, even more than now, I would find solace in every good outcome for others. Even knowing that we were only connected by being in the same boat, so to speak, it somehow made it a bit less scary knowing that someone was fighting this same demon and was winning. Conversely, every bit of bad news and the death of a fellow cancer victim left me shaken – not because our outcomes were somehow inexplicably intertwined but because their bad news brought my own vulnerability uncomfortably to the surface.
Finding hope in the like circumstances of someone’s physical battles is not unlike recognizing that we are all fighting the same battle for our eternal lives. While we share the same Father and the same obligations, our journeys are very different. Just as the pregnancy and cancer anecdotes above reveal, we can give aid to others – and they to us – if we are willing to share our journey. In this way hope truly can be contagious.
This brings me to ponder about other aspects of our faith that can be – and hopefully are – contagious. Thanksgiving is one of them. If we resolve to heighten our awareness of the things for which we are grateful, our thankful demeanor can be contagious. As we are taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, there is a hierarchy of importance: God first, others second, ourselves last. Given this formula, we are then able to formulate a litany of thanksgiving, so to speak. Of course there are other elements involved as well. God has given us a glorious world in which to live out our time of awaiting our eternal reward. The wonders are as countless as the stars and as rich as any treasure.
With the Thanksgiving holiday in mind then, I will share with you a few of my favorite things for which I am grateful. May they be contagious and help you to ponder a list of your own!
In thanksgiving for my Catholic Faith, the Sacraments, and the Priests who make them possible.
In thanksgiving for the gift of Life and the value of all people – old and young, born and unborn.
In thanksgiving for the joy of being part of a large, messy, loving family.
In thanksgiving for the help of others – family, friends, and even strangers – on my life’s journey.
In thanksgiving for the safety of a warm home where I hope to grow old with my one true love.
In thanksgiving for the beauty of God’s creation. Our world is truly a masterpiece!
In the true sense of sharing, how about letting us know about some of your points of thanksgiving? What is on your list of things of which to be grateful? Did this post evoke some that you hadn’t thought of for a while? Do you have a story to tell about gratitude or hope that touched you in a special way? We’d love for you to share!
Birgit is a 50-something cradle Catholic who is passionate about the pro-life movement. She enthusiastically serves on the Diocesan Gospel of Life Committee where she chairs pro-life events and writes pro-life articles. Birgit has been married to her Catholic convert husband, Rick, for 37 years. They have four children and seven grandchildren (all age eight and under). Their frequent visits eliminate any fear of an empty nest! Her vibrant Catholic faith colors every aspect of her life. She also sings in the church choir with her husband and daughter. Other interests include politics, as they relate to ‘Life’, and Church liturgy as well as photography, cooking, and gardening. She can also be found on her personal blog, Designs by Birgit.