Last weekend, after Mass at St. Philomena Church, a young woman in her 20s approached me and asked if I would write an article about what it means to show praise and thanksgiving to our Lord. The celebration of the Mass had been in honor of Christ the King and she felt that the upcoming Thanksgiving and Advent seasons provided a perfect opportunity for us to praise and thank God for what he has done for us.
A few days after I talked to the woman, I looked up the word “thanksgiving” in the dictionary. The word was described as an “act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.” The phrase “thank you” was defined as “an expression of gratitude and appreciation to someone.”
Unfortunately, in the world in which we live, there are a lot of people who are accustomed to taking whatever they can from others without showing gratitude or appreciation for what has been given to them. The phrase that is used most often to describe those types of people is that they are “on the take.” People who are on the take have an attitude that they are deserving of what others have, or that they are entitled to take from others because they are less fortunate than the people they are taking from.
This attitude arises out of their envy and resentfulness toward people who have gifts, talents, abilities, or possessions that they don’t have.
People who are envious and resentful have trouble showing gratitude and appreciation toward others. When they fail to express gratitude to those who help them, the people who have previously helped them feel as though they have been taken for granted and stop helping them. This causes the people who failed to show appreciation to become even more envious and resentful.
Gratitude and appreciation are closely linked. An expression of gratitude is the equivalent of an expression of appreciation. There are two primary definitions of the word “appreciation.” The first definition provides that when there is appreciation, an increase in value occurs. Within the context of this definition, the word appreciation is most commonly used in the valuation of assets. For example, when we hear that there has been an appreciation of gold or stocks, we know that those items have increased in value.
The second definition of appreciation provides that the showing of appreciation gives a person a greater ability to understand the other person or situation. You sometimes hear people say that they have a greater appreciation for a situation after having lived through a similar situation. What they mean is that because of what they lived through, they now have a much greater understanding of new situations that arise because of their previous experience.
While envy and resentfulness feeds on itself and harms our relationships with others, the showing of gratitude and appreciation toward other people increases the value of those people to us and also helps us develop a greater understanding of those people.
For example, when we express thanksgiving for our country, the value of our country increases for us and we develop a greater understanding of our country. When we express thanksgiving for our family, the value of our family increases for us and we develop a greater understanding of our family. When we express thanksgiving to God for what he has done for us (including the cross that he has given us), from a personal standpoint, the value of God in our lives is increased and we develop a greater understanding of God.
As Catholics, we should focus on forming a habit of incorporating gratitude and appreciation into our daily prayers. We know that there are generally five types of prayers:
It is my belief that the types of prayers we should recite most often are prayers of adoration and thanksgiving.
We customarily start all our prayers with the sign of the cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The sign of the cross is a prayer of adoration because it is an expression of confidence and praise in God’s name, above all others. The sign of the cross should be repeated as often as possible throughout the day, such as when we wake up in the morning, before we eat, when we get into our vehicle to drive, before we meet with someone, before we work on a project, before we go on the internet, before we engage in leisure activity, and before we go to sleep at night.
The ultimate form of adoration of our Lord is to spend an hour of our time with Him in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel where He is physically present in the Eucharist — Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.
If you have the desire to develop a closer relationship with God and a greater understanding of who He is and what His plan is for you, you would benefit greatly from spending at least one hour each week with Him in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel. Part of your time in the chapel should be spent in reciting prayers of adoration and thanksgiving.
There is no better way to show your gratitude and appreciation for what God has done for you than to visit with Him on a regular basis in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel.
When gratitude and appreciation are shown toward another person, the relationship with that person is enhanced. Why? Because an expression of gratitude and appreciation increases the value of the relationship that you have with that person and leads to a greater understanding of the person. The same holds true for your relationship with God. The more gratitude and appreciation you show toward God, the more your relationship with Him is enhanced, and the more your understanding of Him grows.
If you are not currently signed up for a holy hour in the St. Philomena Perpetual Adoration Chapel, you can do so by calling Jenny Witt at 309-682-8642. Ext. 2104, or you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. When you sign up for a holy hour, you will be given a key to the Perpetual Adoration Chapel, which will allow you to visit with our Lord at any time of the day or night.
If you’re not adoring God and expressing gratitude and appreciation to Him on a regular basis, there’s a good chance that you’re on the take. In other words, you’re taking advantage of all the blessings and grace that He showers upon you without thanking Him or showing appreciation for what He does for you every day. You can change that by agreeing to spend an hour of your time with Him every week in the Perpetual Adoration Chapel.