GIVE THANKS ALWAYS —
For Everything, In Everything

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By Fr Roderick Salazar SVD

THANKS. 
GIVING THANKS. 
SAYING THANKS.

For some it comes easy. For others, not so.

Today, I give thanks to God.
For everything in my life.
In everything in my life.
And not only today, but always.

I take my cue from St. Paul.
Oh this man, this apostle of Christ.
He did not have things easy.

In 2 Corinthians 11:24-31 he says:
“From the Jews I received five times
forty whippings save one (thus, 39.
Note: punishments were usually 40 stripes
but fearing that they might go beyond 40,
whipmasters usually stopped at 39).

“Thrice was I beaten with rods, 
Once was I stoned,
Thrice I suffered shipwreck,
A night and a day I was in the deep;
In journeyings often, in perils of robbers,
In perils by mine own countrymen.
In perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, 
in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea,
in perils among false brethren,
in weariness and painfulness,
in watchings often, in hunger and thirst,
in fasting often, in cold and nakedness. “

All these things Paul suffered.
And yet he says in Ephesians 5, 20:
“SING, PLAY TO THE LORD in your hearts,
GIVING THANKS ALWAYS,
and FOR EVERYTHING, in the name of our Lord 
Jesus Christ to God the Father.”

In 1 Thessalonians 5,18 he proclaims:
REJOICE ALWAYS. Pray without ceasing.
In ALL CIRCUMSTANCES, GIVE THANKS
For this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

His Letter to the Colossians is full of gratitude.
“we ALWAYS GIVE THANKS to God
the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. 
…GIVING THANKS to the Father, who has made
you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy
ones in light… BE THANKFUL. Whatever you do, 
in word or in deed, do everything in the name 
of the Lord Jesus, GIVING THANKS 
to God the Father through Him.”

Gratitude is the memory of the heart.
Margaret Visser links GRATITUDE with AWE.
“Deeply-felt gratitude is a species of awe, and as
such, requires HUMILITY. It implies a sense of
one’s littleness before the wonder of the universe,
of the earth and all of nature, of one’s own life,
and before the goodness of others.

“Gratitude, like awe, is the opposite of what we call
“taking things for granted”, which is receiving
and not seeing why one should be grateful.
Gratitude, like awe, is a matter of looking,
and ultimately, of insight.”

Nancy Leigh DeMoss relates a story in her book, 
CHOOSING GRATITUDE: Your Journey to Joy:

William Stidger, middle-aged pastor, struggled like
so many others through the Great Depression.
One day, while sitting around a table with a group
of friends who were bemoaning the hard times,
William made up his mind that he would choose to
be grateful; thankful for God, for faith, and for the
people in his life.

The first person who crept into his thoughts was an
English teacher, one who had first inspired in him a
love for literature and poetry, a passion that had
certainly played a significant role in his calling as
a pastor and writer. He sat down that evening and
wrote a simple letter of thanks to her, dropping it
off for posting the next morning.

Within a few days’ time, he received by return mail
a feebly-scrawled note from this very teacher.
“Dear Willy: I can’t tell you how much your note
meant to me. I am in my eighties, living alone in
a small room, cooking my own meals, lonely, 
like the last leaf of autumn lingering behind.

“You’ll be interested to know that I taught in school 
for more than fifty years, and yours is the first note 
of appreciation I have ever received. It came on a 
blue, cold morning, and it cheered me as nothing 
has done in many years..”

Inspired by such a response, William wrote another letter
of thanks, this time to an elderly bishop who replied:

“Your letter was so beautiful, so real, that as I sat
reading it, tears fell from my eyes, tears of gratitude. 
Before I realized what I was doing, I rose from my chair 
and called my wife’s name to share it with her, forgetting 
that she was gone. You’ll never know how much your 
letter has warmed my spirit. I have been walking around 
in the glow of your letter all day long.”

Today, I pause to give thanks.  
Call or text or write or think of and pray for everyone 
through whom I received God’s blessings, God’s grace.

I sing, too: “How can I give thanks 
for the things You have done for me,
things, so undeserved yet You gave 
to prove Your love for me.
The voices of a million angels 
cannot express my gratitude
All that I am or ever hope to be, 
I owe it all to You.

To God be the glory, to God be the glory,
to God be the glory for the things He has done.
With His blood He has saved me, 
by His power He has raised me
to God be the glory for the things He has done.

Just let me live my life, and let it be pleasing, 
Lord, to Thee, and should I gain my praise, 
let it go to Calvary

To God be the glory 
for the things He has done.”

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