Intentions of the Holy Father for April

Ecology and Justice. That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
Hope for the Sick. That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

An Attitude of Gratitude

The readings for today, the Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (2 Kings 5:14-17; Ps 98; 2 Tim 2:8-13; Lk 17:11-19), seem very clearly to focus on the virtue of gratitude. Naaman the Syrian was so moved by the healing worked for him by the prophet Elisha, that he refused to worship any but Elisha's, the LORD of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. St. Paul urges St. Timothy and St. Timothy's flock to remember what the Lord Jesus has worked for them, and so to refuse to deny Him in any way. In the Gospel narrative, the Lord Jesus heals ten lepers in Samaria, and one of them returns alone to thank and worship Him.

The thoughtless ingratitude of the nine lepers might be a sign to us. How many times to we receive free gifts from God without remembering or thinking to spend even a moment thanking Him? To say that we overlook only nine out of ten blessings is probably a generous understandment for most of us. At Mass, Fr. Clarke preached that we need to develop an attitude of gratitude. How might we do this? While we cannot make ourselves feel a certain way, a feeling isn't a virtue and it's not what chiefly concerns God. A virtue is a habit of good action; the virtue of gratitude is a habit of giving thanks. A sure way to practice and grow in this virtue is to plot out different points in our day at which we will give thanks to God for His blessings upon us. Before and after meals are opportune, easily remembered, and traditional times for such moments of prayer. Before we go to bed, after examining our conscience and making an act of contrition, we might review our day, scanning it for blessings, and then make an act of gratitude. When returning home or finishing a journey we might give thanks for the roof over our head or the safe travel.

Gratitude, Fr. Clarke said, is the gentle, pleasant, enjoyable way to grow in humility. It reminds us that we are small and dependent on a great and loving Father. It softens our heart and opens it wider, making room for the Lord to enter more fully.

Ps 24 - A Psalm of David.

The earth is the LORD's and the fulness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein;

for he has founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the rivers.

Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.

He will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation.

Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.

Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty,the LORD, mighty in battle!

Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in.

Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!

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