Monday, November 25, 2013

Gratitude... It Should not be Seasonal

Apologies for the long hiatus - some serious health issues and a very busy time at the office, plus I wrote a major article which will appear in the March issue of Ministry and Liturgy magazine. The other good part is that I found the time to add pages for all the liturgical seasons to my website The Liturgical Catechist.  I have also been blessed to be working on a series of posts for the Loyola Press DRE Connect blog on ways catechists can reinforce rituals, prayers, music and other elements of the Mass in the classroom. (A new post should be published any day now. Links to previous posts are at the end of the current post.) The next major project is a book proposal for Loyola Press for a manual for new and untrained directors of religious education.

As Thanksgiving approaches and we prepare to enter Advent, 2013, I want to give particular thanks for all God's gifts, particularly for my healthy, beautiful granddaughter, Emma. She is proof that there is always the possibility of new life.

I am grateful for family, friends and my parish community, as well as the support of colleagues in the diocese. There is no substitute for a community of people who care. I am thankful to have a steady full-time job and a part-time job facilitating online classes for University of Dayton in an economy where so many are jobless. I am grateful for the beauty of golden-rose sunsets as I drive home from work these late November days, and for the quiet companionship of my cats. I thank God every time I am privileged to serve his people as a cantor at Mass, and for the continued strength and beauty of the voice given to me by the Holy Spirit, which I give back in praise.

I also give thanks for the new piece of the Cross I have been handed - the challenge of Celiac Disease. When I realized that the condition is serious enough that I needed to turn to low-gluten hosts, I was hit by the realization of how much I love the Eucharist. When I have been forced to receive only the Precious Blood because a host has not been available, I had a wrenching realization of the depth of my attachment to the Bread of Life. I know that the day I find myself at a Mass unequipped with my own host and pyx where the Precious Blood is not offered will be challenging. Yet, there is blessing in these new discoveries.

 I may not give thanks for all this often enough... Thanksgiving is a reminder that I should be grateful all year 'round - as should we all.

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