What is gratitude if one does not act on it? Concrete action is necessary in Christian gratitude. This week, Deacon Gerard-Marie Anthony wrote for us a reflection on challenging ourselves to share the source of our gratitude with others.
Pope Saint Paul VI wrote in his encyclical On Christian Joy, "Joy cannot be dissociated from sharing. In God Himself, all is joy because all is giving." We too are called to have all as joy, to be like God, to live in his image and likeness (Gen. 1:26). However, what does that mean because I'm sure each one of us wants joy. Joy comes from have an perpetual presence of encountering the good. So first it means we have to look for the good, thus look for God and be grateful for Him and His gifts. Second it means challenging yourself to give because God is love and the love that we find is not meant to be kept simply for ourselves if it is going to fulfill us. We must, as St. Paul tells us, have "faith working through charity" (Gal. 5:6) in order to experience true joy. St. John puts it even more direct when he writes,"God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters, are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also (1Jn. 4: 16, 19-20). In other words, if we don't want to lie to ourselves and have a false/pretend joy we must allow this spirit of love, this spirit of gratitude, to flow out from us to others! As Pope Saint Paul VI reminds us joy cannot be disassociated from sharing! So to do this, ask yourself two questions: How do I like to give? This can help you to discover a charism? Then ask, "What might I be called to give which might be a sacrifice?" This will help you to discover a deeper meaning of love! And the more you discover love, the more gracious you will be because you will realize that you too are loved; and the more gracious you are, the more you will want to share with others; and the more you want to share with others, the more joyful you will be. Gratitude is linked to Joy through Love. So this Lent, let us strengthen that link so that we can take in our Lord's words, "I have told you these things so that my joy may be within you, and your joy may be complete" (Jn. 10:10). Let us have the fullness of joy that comes through love and founded upon gratitude!