Gratitude is the source and summit of life

By Fr TOM McHUGH

Recently, a number of people who have lived to be over 100 were interviewed about what contributed to their long life. While there was great diversity in what they had to say, they had one thing in common: an “attitude of thankfulness and an interest in the world around them”.

There is growing scientific evidence that gratitude has positive health benefits. So the advice of one interviewee is “practise gratitude until it becomes a habit”.

It should not come as a surprise to us Christians when we pray at Mass daily.

“It is right always and everywhere to give thanks” to God who gives us all good things. The word Eucharist itself means “giving thanks”. Three thousand Bishops at the Council of Vatican II taught that the Eucharist is the Source and Summit of Christian life (Lumen Gentium #11).

Our own diocese has made this one of its goals as we prepare for the Eucharistic Congress in Liverpool in September 2018 viz “to engender a deeper understanding of the place of the Eucharist as the ‘source and summit’ of our lives”.

This is the time of the year when we gather afresh after the holidays – hopefully with grateful hearts. Holidays give us time to pause and ponder, to gather the fragments of our lives and make sense of things, to not only ponder but to wonder at the beauty and goodness of creation and people too. GK Chesterton said: “We never starve for want of wonders but for want of wonder!”

We gather today to celebrate, to make Eucharist, to give thanks to God always and everywhere, to gather our little acts of gratitude uniting them with Jesus Christ as we give praise to the Father. Truly this is the source and summit of our lives. Indeed, the Eucharist touches and consecrates every crevice and corner of our existence when we unite our lives with Jesus on the Altar.

 

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