Gratitude for the good God has done - Catholic Courier
Matthew H. Clark Matthew H. Clark

Gratitude for the good God has done


Dear Sisters and Brothers,

As we come close to the Christmas feast, I send to you affectionate greetings and the promise of my prayers that God will bless you and your loved ones during this holy season.

I thank you most sincerely for your kindness to me during these weeks of Advent. The good wishes and prayers you conveyed in your Christmas cards and notes have been truly wonderful gifts to me. They remind me that God’s presence and love are not in some distant, unreachable place. Rather, they are here, all around us, embodied and expressed in the lives of faithful people like you.

Your kindness has not only increased my awareness of God’s faithful, life-giving presence to us here and now; it has also helped me to appreciate more deeply some of the great figures who are part of the Christian story. I refer to people like Zachary and Elizabeth, John the Baptist, Mary and Joseph. We revere them as saints, holy ones, who were extraordinarily generous in responding to God’s intervention in their lives. It is right that we so regard them and honor them.

But it is also important for us to remember that all of them were human beings just like we are. Their courageous responses to the Lord’s invitation were made in faith; and their responses were not made without some tough struggles.

Even Mary, the first and most faithful of the Lord’s disciples, wondered, “How can this be?” when she was called to accept the gift of motherhood through the power of the Holy Spirit. She and the others model faith for us. They embody courage. They teach us the power of God’s grace to guide us through unknown territory and to sustain us in moments that seem overwhelming to us.

The gifts of your prayers and kind greetings in this holy season have renewed my awareness and quickened my memory of the ways in which your faith and generous service to one another have inspired me since my first days among you. I know that it has not always been easy for you and that there have been moments of struggle for you along the way. But I hope and pray that the Christmas season will bring to the quiet places of your heart a deep sense of gratitude for God’s faithful and graceful presence with you all through the years.

I will carry you in my heart during these holy days. When I pray I will do so in gratitude for the great things God has done in you, and with the hope that those great things will one day be brought to completion.

Peace to all.

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