Tag Archives: Luke 17:11-19

Sunday Devotional: Why we should in *all* circumstances, give thanks

Luke 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master!  Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

The human condition is that of suffering.

In one month, I lost the two most important and most loved persons in my life. The losses are immeasurable and my grief ocean-deep. There are times when I have felt abandoned by God.

But then I remind myself of what St. Paul — who was beaten, arrested and imprisoned on more than one occasion, and who was martyred (beheaded) on June 29, AD 67 — said in 1 Thessalonians 5:18:

In all circumstances, give thanks,
for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

For indeed, despite whatever travails and suffering that afflict us, there is still so much for which we have to thank, beginning with the fact that we are still alive.

Not only is it right and true to thank God for our very lives and for His many other gifts (can you count and enumerate yours?), being thankful actually benefits us in at least seven scientifically-proven ways:

  1. Gratitude is good for our physical health: Grateful people experience fewer aches and pains and they report feeling healthier than other people, according to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences. Grateful people are also more likely to take care of their health — they exercise more often and are more likely to get regular check-ups.
  2. Gratitude is good for our psychological health: Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D., a leading gratitude researcher, found that gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.
  3. Gratitude reduces stress and makes us more resilient: For years, research has shown gratitude not only reduces stress, but it may also play a major role in overcoming trauma by making us more resilient:
    • A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War veterans with higher levels of gratitude experienced lower rates of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
    • Recognizing all you have to be thankful for – even during the worst times of your life – also fosters resilience, enabling you to better withstand trauma and stress. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the 9/11 attacks.
  4. Grateful people sleep better: Writing in a gratitude journal improves sleep, according to a 2011 study published in Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being. Jotting down a few grateful sentiments before bed helps you sleep better and longer.
  5. Gratitude opens the door to friendship: Showing appreciation to other people can help you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship.
  6. Gratitude improves self-esteem: A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology found that gratitude increased athletes’ self-esteem, which is an essential component to optimal performance. Other studies have shown that gratitude makes us better able to appreciate other people’s accomplishments, and reduces social comparisons which makes us resentful toward people who seem to have more than we have — whether more money, better jobs, better health, or more friends.
  7. Gratitude is good for society by enhancing empathy and reducing aggression: Grateful people are more likely to behave in a pro-social manner according to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky. Study participants who ranked higher on gratitude scales were sensitive and empathic toward other people; less vengeful; and less likely to retaliate against others, even when given negative feedback.

I know how difficult it is to be thankful when we are in the throes of great suffering. But I will now make a list of all the many, many things for which I am grateful. I invite you to make a list as well.

And remember, always: “In all circumstances, give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 

May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you,

~Eowyn

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"Thank You!"

gratitude-cicero
My mother and father raised me to always be thankful for the gifts that God has given me.  I remember them telling me that God knows everything that you need and to never forget to thank Him.  My mother and father also taught me “manners” and how to be gracious, kind and generous to people, that this was so very important.  And in teaching me manners, included was the need to thank others when they have done something for me in whatever capacity.  I remember listening to them intently, with my eyes gazing up at them, and truly, I tried to implement thankfulness in my life.
In September of 2006, during the Sacrament of Confession, a wonderful priest told me “To thank God in all things and situations, to praise God in all things and situations, to remember to live in the mystery of His Cross and to live in the present.”  He told me that no matter what happens, even if it is evil, that a greater good would come from it and to submit all circumstances to God, asking for his help and direction, to be the best person I could be, to be an excellent soldier for Christ and to ask to do His Will.  Every day I have remembered this counsel, at its heart being thanksgiving and praise to God, willing to submit to Him in all the circumstances of life, to actually “be” the person He has made.
Indeed and in fact, the term, “Eucharist”, the central act of Christian worship, the Mass, is a Greek word which means, “thanksgiving,” because through its institution by Jesus, He “gave thanks” to His Father  (Mt. 26: 26-28):
While they were eating , Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is My body.”  Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is My blood of the new covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins.”
The Mass is the supreme act of Christian thanksgiving, the celebration of the Eucharist, from Jesus instituting this Sacrament in or about 33 A.D., to the present time, December 22, 2012 and on forward.  It is noteworthy here that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity in avid constancy, gave thanks to the Father and asked that this supreme Thanksgiving, be done in remembrance of Him.
I love listening to the Gospel that involved Jesus healing the ten lepers in Luke 17:11-19:
As he continued his journey to Jerusalem, he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.  As he was entering a village, ten lepers met Him.  They stood at a distance from Him and raised their voice, saying, “Jesus, Master!  Have pity on us!”  And when He saw them, He said, “Go show yourselves to the priests.”  As they were going they were cleansed.  And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jeus and thanked him.  He was a Samaritan.  Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not?  Where are the other nine?  Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?  Then He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.” 
Clearly, Jesus takes notice of the leper who thanked Him, but He also takes notice of the nine lepers who did not thank Him.
Being thankful to God from the heart, soul, mind, intellect and will is a wonderful necessity that frees us from ourselves, our egos, wherein we learn how to be “little” and how to recognize Jesus in disguise, how to help our neighbors, the people that we are involved with in our own Calcuttas.  Thankfulness is liberating and essential for happiness, and above all, it is essential for holiness, it is essential to becoming a Saint and it is essential in loving our neighbors.  We should want to be Saints, friends of God living in Heaven with Him, seeing the Triune God, face to face.  This should be our ultimate goal over any other goal.
dear God
In spite of how wonderful it is to be thankful, there are actually people in this world who avoid being thankful and who spurn being thankful as something that is beneath them.  Since I have been involved in Fellowship of the Minds (FOTM) as a writer, I have made it a point to thank the writers, especially Dr. Eowyn, the owner and administrator of this blog, for the specific communications I have read, which incudes the effort, research and thought that goes into the various posts.  In this capacity on FOTM, I have learned that many people are not thankful and actually make it a point to condemn thankfulness.  One commenter called me “comical” because I “thank” so much, also calling me a “butt kisser.”  I laughed, because if you know me, you know that this would never be a description of me.  It really is funny.  But I thought about why would someone make such comments about being thankful?  I came to the conclusion that once again, the sin of narcissism and pride is the cause of such a stupid disdain for being “thankful”, and that people who do not appreciate or thank have chosen darkness and their own glory as their light, instead of the Light of Christ and the light of goodness that we experience in being thankful to each other.  Such people need our prayers as they must be very unhappy and do not know themselves.  For if you know yourself, you would then realize why it is necessary to be thankful.
So, as I say almost every day to my dear Sister of choice, Dr. Eowyn, the leader of this Fellowship, “Thank you, Dr. Eowyn, for everything you do for us, for everything that you do for your neighbors that you do know and for your neighbors that you do not know.  Thank you for your research and the accompanying brilliance and scholarly enlightenment that helps us to understand what is true and what is not true.”  And, to all of my fellow writers, I extend my utmost thanks for everything that you do as well to be Soldiers for the Triune God, to point out evil and to point out good, all servants of the Truth, which is Jesus, a Person.  And most of all, I thank you, most Supreme and Loving Triune God!  Thank You!
~Joan

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