PRACTICE BEING GRATEFUL FROM YOUR HEART AND YOU WILL ALWAYS SEE THE BEST IN LIFE
When I was a little boy, my mother, may she rest in peace, used to say, “be helpful, Noel!”
When we were visiting other people and someone there was doing a chore, my mother wanted me to show my appreciation by pitching in and helping those offering us food or providing us with a place to stay for the night.
I think that often ego, vanity and pride easily prevent us from cultivating an attitude of gratitude. A thankful heart is the door to a better way of life and a better way to face the challenges of life. Besides acknowledging any favors received, gratitude should be used in all the aspects of life.
The greatest way to express thanks is in the Holy Mass. What a wonderful way to show our gratitude to Our Father and His Son for their Love and Mercy to us! Conversely, it is not a sign of gratitude by those who call themselves Catholics but don’t take part in the Divine experience of encountering Jesus in the Eucharist. Saint Paul, in his epistle, urges us to “thank God at all times” (1 Thes 5:18) because he is aware of the great blessings received when thanking the Lord from the bottom of our hearts.
For me, Thanksgiving is likely the major celebration in the United States, for on Thanksgiving, families get together not to exchange gifts but to express gratitude; to share, to appreciate and thank each other and, most importantly, the most wonderful part of the day is to thank God for all the good received throughout the year.
Thanksgiving reminds me of the passage of the Gospel about the 10 lepers healed by Jesus (Luke 17: 11-17), where Jesus asks the only leper that came back, “where are the other 9?”
I think this question shows that Jesus and by extension God notices when there is a lack of thankfulness in ones heart and that they pay special attention when gratitude is made by those least expected to do so, like a Samaritan; the marginalized of that day.
There are many ways to thank. Overtime, I have seen that those who have practiced gratitude in their hearts live more happily, abundant lives. And those who do not understand the value of thanksgiving suffer much. For they tend to focus on what they lack and complain more than they say thanks for their many blessings. For instance, we ask Jesus to heal us when our arm hurts. Why don’t we thank Him for having an arm in the first place?
For those living in the United States, I ask you to never forget where we came from or our roots in another land, another culture. Let us think of those who are suffering today in those lands. Let us remember what we have endured to come to America and to help as many people as we can, enabled to do so by God’s Grace.
Let us show our gratitude in the many ways available to us including in words (advocacy), giving of our time and treasure and material things to our parish and/or to other organizations that help people in need, especially the migrant; like the Holy Family found themselves in Egypt. Let us show our gratitude to those who have helped us or are helping us in the course of our lives by honoring their sacrifice to us by sacrificing now for others; passing it forward. Honoring others who have helped us is not a recommendation; it is a commandment of the Law of God, beginning with our parents.
Right now, I want to honor each and every person that has helped me in my life. Many of them are in heaven, like my mother. I also honor my father, even though he was not by my side, he shared in bringing me into this world and for that I am grateful. Only God knows what his life was like, what he was going through that prevented him from loving his only son. Maybe he did not know the love of his father and therefore did not learn how to love a son. I also honor my family, my wife Sara, my two boys and girl, their families, and grandchildren. So, in return for all that we have in this world, how could we not thank our Heavenly Father and honor Him in this life?
We are now all responsible for Sowing the Good Seed
I thank those who have supported ESNE since its inception. Many priests, bishops and laity have told me that ESNE became a particular blessing for the Church during the pandemic which forced many parishes to close their doors but kept the flame of Faith lit through ESNE’s radio, tv and social media presence as a designated media platform for the Holy See.
For that reason, despite the hardships, the passing of so many people and pain of the families, we appreciate that God allowed us through His people to buy five new radio stations and adding the largest culturally Hispanic, culturally Catholics broadcaster’s presence to the top two cable networks in America, Comcast and Spectrum; now reaching all Hispanics in the United States on satellite and cable TV. We could not have done this without the generosity of the men and women that believed in ESNE’s mission to assist everyone in encountering Jesus. So, none are lost but all come to Sal-vation ( 2 Peter 3:9).
As a volunteer at ESNE, I have witnessed thousands of conversions of women, men, and whole families. I have also seen the emergence of vocations to the consecrated life, many, for the glory of God! Through social media, I just received a message from a young man, Eduardo Cobián Hernández whom I have not met, yet. With his permission, I want to share his message to me because it encapsulates the very essence of thanksgiving; please join me in honoring all that you have achieved through your support of ESNE, what you support changes lives and the world.
I hope you are very well. This message may be a surprise for you, but it is my way to thank you for all the good that you have done and continue to do. I thanked God, but you must know this too.
When I lived in the United States, I was apart of ESNE’s ministry for a few years as a Sower. It was through ESNE’s San Diego radio station that I listen to, that a question I asked myself since childhood got answered, at least part of it; I decided to follow the Lord in the way of Domingo de Guzmán, I joined the Dominican Order in 2011.
I want you to know that the little seed sowed by ESNE is now germinating; I will be ordained a priest in the Fall in the city of Guadalajara. Every time I visit my parents in San Diego, I try to listen to ESNE’s station because it brings me really good memories.
Know that I appreciate everything you do. Now, it is my turn to be a Sower of the Hope that I have received and the mission accepted from the Lord. A fraternal hug to you. May God reward all your work and your team.
Glory to God! Our Sower of Hope is now a priest!
I cannot finish this message of gratitude without extending my deepest gratitude to our beloved Pope Francis for his support and closeness to the ministry and to all of us at this time in Salvation history. Let us continue to pray for him, as he has always requested, so that the Grace, Wisdom, and Love of God may accompany him in his sensitive mission of guiding the Church of Jesus Christ along the path of Holiness for our benefit and the world’s.
I pray to our Father and to Jesus Christ to keep you and your family safe, that the Moth-erly embrace of the Virgin Mary carries you before Her Son and, through the Holy Spirit, we all prevail in honoring the one who sent us into this world in all our words and deeds until we stand before Him in Glory. Amen.