The 32nd Wednesday in Ordinary Time
In this morning’s Gospel, ten lepers were cleansed, but only one returned to give thanks to God, and Jesus asks “Where are the other nine?” The story is included in the Gospel because it is vital that we should learn to thank God.
What for? For his being God, in the first place. The great prayer of thanks where he is concerned is the Eucharist, which means “Thanksgiving” in Greek. In the Gloria of the Mass, we pray, “We give you thanks for your great glory”, thanking God for being God, in a communion with his own joy.
St Charles de Foucauld expressed his gratitude in the midst of his suffering and his personal crosses by saying to God, “My God, your happiness is enough for me.” That’s an expression of adoration in its purest form, and it puts everything into perspective.
We should also thank God for everything we owe him, and that’s a permanent motive for joy and gratitude. We can never finish counting our blessings, not least because we can call God “Our Father”, and have the joy of being in all truth his children, children of God by adoption.
And we should thank God for having become one of us in Jesus our Brother so that through him, and with him, and in him, we might become partakers of the divine nature, and escape the corruption rife in the world because of sinful desire.
It is often interesting and illuminating to listen to the last earthly words of some holy person as they are spoken. Sometimes they give meaning to a whole life and open up a window on the spirituality which inspired them. I’m thinking of the last words of St. Clare, whose life was such a noble echo of the Gospel. Feeling that death was near, she turned to God in a final prayer and was heard to murmur these words: “Thank you, Lord, for having created me.”
That is the highest thanks a creature can give to his Creator. It is the cry of a person who understands the greatness of gratefulness.