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home : bishop : columns

5/21/2015 9:00:00 AM
Thanksgiving in May

Nothing brings more joy to the human heart than words or actions that bespeak "thank you."

Maybe even more powerful than the words "I love you" -- to which hidden strings may sometimes be attached -- "I thank you" is as clearly a life-affirming message as any human being can make. It links giver and receiver in a way that a present alone -- no matter how stunningly wrapped -- cannot.

Both the giver and the receiver of the "thank you" need somehow to be present to each other: the more personal the delivery, the more authentic the connection.

I once witnessed what seemed to me a sad miscarriage of an attempted "thank you." It was the day after Mother's Day and it was raining. On the front steps of the house next door to the one where I was visiting with friends, I noticed a beautiful though wilting bouquet of flowers with a message attached.

That snapshot memory still speaks volumes to me. I was saddened to think that the sender may not be close enough to the intended mother to have known whether she was home or out of state or country.

Perhaps it was not a son or a daughter who had sent them. It might just have been some kind folks from the office or the church. That thought (judge not...) at least relieved me somewhat.

May is a special month for thanksgiving -- not only for our own mothers, who gave us the gift of physical and spiritual life, but also the mother of all the faithful, Mary Immaculate. She loves us so much.

It is possible for those who have experienced wounds in their relationship with their earthly mothers to know forgiveness, healing and deep consolation, placing their heart in the heart of Mary. The daily practice of saying the Rosary is a good way to start -- and Mary is the fastest track to the heart of Jesus and our growth in holiness.

I am personally grateful to all of my staff who are invaluable to me and the people of our Diocese with their tireless and dedicated support. A year has passed since my ordination and installation as Bishop of Albany, but I cannot forget all of those who prepared so thoughtfully and diligently for the April 10 celebration so that it would turn out to be the wonderful day that it was. (They must have remembered to hang their rosaries on the clothesline to bring the warm sun down that day!)

Speaking of celebrations, as confirmations (see photos in The Evangelist's print edition) continue, I am also delighted to be present at a number of college and high school graduations. I am grateful to Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard for his assistance when some of these events coincide in this season. I wish I could make them all!

At each celebration, I always remind our young people of our need to be grateful for the parents, grandparents, godparents and friends whose prayer and sacrifice accompany us on our journey of life and faith. None of us would have the gift of our faith had not our families helped bring us into it.

While we are at it, we can thank the unknown souls who, today, witness to our Christian faith to the point of shedding their blood in the face of persecution, inviting us all to a deeper and more reverent appreciation for the sacrifice Jesus made for us all. From heaven, His mercies still stream from His wounded side.

Our Eucharist is our daily thanksgiving not only for being called together as a community to celebrate that gift, but for the graces that the Holy Spirit pours into each of our hearts personally, each according to our need and readiness to receive them.

Thanksgiving is certainly in order now. We don't have to wait till November.

(Follow the Bishop at www.facebook.com/AlbanyBishopEd">www.facebook.com/AlbanyBishopEd and on Twitter @AlbBishopEd">AlbBishopEd.)

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