No. 19 Expressions of Gratitude
Our faith and our religion are founded in the love and joy of God. We acknowledge this, and respond to it, according to the many possible ways in which each of us sees and loves God. The Church assures us that adoration and praise of God should lead to the sincere intention and endeavour to discover and to do God’s will. For us who are Catholic, prayer and the Sacrifice of the Mass are God-given means to this end, which enable us to enter into a rich, fulfilling relationship with the Lord our God, in a spirit of love, thankfulness and complete trust.
It is wise and well to take time and think of God’s magnanimity and goodness to us, sinners though we be. May our response be one of deep gratitude, prompting us to love, repentance and trust. May gratitude be more than of the fair weather type, which sings fervent hosannas and alleluias while the going is good, but baulks at carrying the cross. May we not be grumblers, with our gaze fixed on the mud of life, and failing to see the grandeur of the stars and the wonder and beauty of people and of nature.
Gratitude : From the natural to the sublime,
in song and prayer
1. What a Wonderful World
I see trees of green, red roses too, I see them bloom for me and you, and I think to myself what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue and clouds of white, the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night, and I think to myself what a wonderful world. The colours of the rainbow so pretty in the sky, are also on the faces of people going by. I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do, They’re really saying I love you. I hear babies crying, I watch them grow, they’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know, and I think to myself what a wonderful world. Yes, I think to myself what a wonderful world. (Bob Thiele and George David Weiss, sung by Louis Armstrong)
2. Somebody Bigger than you and I
Who made the mountains, who made the trees, Who made the rivers flow to the sea, And who sends the rain when the earth is dry? Somebody bigger than you and I. Who made the flowers to bloom in the spring, Who made the song for the robins to sing, And who hung the moon in the starry sky? Somebody bigger than you and I. He lights the way when the road is long, He keeps you company, and with His love to guide you, He walks beside you, just like He walks with me. When I am weary, filled with despair, Who gives me courage to go on from there, And who gives me faith that will never die? Somebody bigger than you and I. (Words & music by Johnny Lange, Hy Heath & Sonny Burke. Popularised by Mahalia Jackson)
3. How Great Thou Art
Oh Lord, my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made, I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout the universe displayed. Then sings my soul my saviour God to Thee: How great Thou art. When through the woods and forest glades I wander, and hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur and hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze; And when I think that God, His Son not sparing, sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in. That on the cross my burden gladly bearing, He bled and died to take away my sin. When Christ shall come with shout of acclamation, to take me home, what joy shall fill my heart. Then I shall bow in humble adoration and there proclaim, My God, how great Thou art. (Poem by Carl Gustaf Boberg (1891) translated into English: Stuart Hine 1899, Popularised by Elvis Presley).
Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created things kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me, I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace. (Confessions of St. Augustine)
5. Prayer of Abandonment
Father, I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will. Whatever you may do, I thank you: I am ready for all, I accept all. Let only your will be done in me, and in all your creatures – I wish no more than this, O Lord.
Into your hands I commend my soul: I offer it to you with all the love of my heart, for I love you, Lord, and so need to give myself, to surrender myself into your hands without reserve, and with boundless confidence, for you are my Father. (Blessed Charles de Foucauld (1858 -1916), beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in 2009)