“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life,
what you will eat or what you will drink,
or about your body, what you will wear….
Look at the birds of the air;
they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them……
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow;
they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you,
even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these……
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given to you as well.”
In the latest copy of Imprint, (a publication of the Sisters of Life) I read a striking article on prayer, particularly what they called “praise prayer.” The article states “praising Jesus for everything says, ‘Jesus, I trust and know you will bring a greater good out of this situation than any I could possible create or imagine. Your plans are more beautiful than mine. You have the big picture. You see all things with an eternal perspective. I trust you and I thank you.’ Let Jesus work it out…. If you think you can’t get beyond a trial, pray these words again and again. He slowly takes over and brings peace. Be patient.”
I feel that this simple, yet profound suggestion, challenges us to go deeper in prayers of gratitude, to actually praise the Lord for everything! It almost seems silly, like saying something absurd, yet it is the way of the saints, so here’s my best shot…
- Praise you, Lord, for a blessed pilgrimage to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. The children were (relatively) good for a Holy Hour and Mass, the music was beautiful, and Theresa especially loved praying at the individual Marian shrines. There was also a new Rosary garden with a large, beautiful depiction of Our Lady of Fatima and the three children, where we said the Rosary and the kids could run around. (It is entirely fenced it!)
- I praise you, Lord, for the odd and initially unpleasant experience of glimpsing my former boss during the Mass. We parted on extremely bad terms, and I struggled awhile with forgiveness and charity towards him. At first, I was irritated that I would be reminded of such unpleasantness during this pilgrimage, but as a prayed for peace, I realized that God gave me the grace to see him and know I had forgiven, moved on, and no longer harbor resentment. I was able to pray for him. That, truly, is a profound grace.
- I praise you, Lord, for the child screaming and crying every night, even as a write. She is strong, healthy and talking amazingly well for almost 20 months, and this is part of her development. I praise You for the opportunities for extreme patience, perseverance and humility as I am nightly deprived of sleep (after enjoying several weeks of her sleeping through the night).
- I praise you, Lord, for the opportunity to stay home with my children and educate them myself, enjoying the milestones, little moments, and beginning of the education adventure. Although this involves far more of a sacrifice than I realized it would (since I cannot easily find a job and work outside the home), I do love being with these little girls.
- I praise you, Lord, for the good you will bring out of the financial and marital difficulties I am experiencing. I trust that You not only can but will care for our daily needs and bring good out of the situation.
- I praise you, Lord, for the beauty of these autumn days- blue sky, the scent of fallen leaves and pine needles, the subdued colors of the the fall leaves, the song of birds in the many trees surrounding our home, and the clear, dry air, so rare in Virginia!
- I praise you, Lord, that my husband can easily take sick days when myself and the kid are sick, to stay home and help me get better.
- I praise you, Lord, for new friendship, very dear friends of many years, new opportunities, and the chance to grow, chance, learn and discover who You call me to be.
- I praise you, Lord, that somehow I have been finding more time to read again. Indeed, all year long I have been able to read several books a month.
- I praise you, Lord, “O Beauty ever ancient and ever new,” for a life filled with beauty and blessings, especially the gift of my Catholic Faith, and the treasures of the traditions, Traditions, writings of the saints, gifts of the Spirit and very real grace of the Sacraments.
Mary, most holy, Mother of the Church and my Mother, purify the praise of my heart and let it be a pure offering of love to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.