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Posts Tagged ‘St. Francis of Assisi’

For part one, click here.

From the observations I made (more…)

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Did I get your attention?  Good — now I can clarify that I mean “hedonism” in the broadest sense of the search for happiness.

G._K._Chesterton_at_workI am reminded of comments from the great English essayist G.K. Chesterton, who had a lot to say about the joy of a life of thanks-giving in his biography of St. Francis of Assisi.

Basically, what he said was this: Most of us, to our own misery, go through life as creditors rather than as debtors.

Now why would going through life as a creditor make one miserable?  Well, think about it…here’s the attitude that goes with it:

  • A. I am owed something…even a lot of things;
    B. I am not being given these things, and therefore I am being cheated;
    C. I’ve got to ceaselessly hound the world to give me what it owes me, or else I must be unhappy.

We could probably stop right there.  But let’s look at the alternative of living the life of a debtor — that is, someone who has been given much, and cannot possibly repay anyone or anything for it.

Now, if this indebtedness is to a creature, then we could see this causing nervousness.  But if it is to the Creator, Who needs nothing and to Whose happiness we, as creatures, could never add, then how could we live except in pure joy?

Saint FrancisTo be a Christian is to be grateful — first and foremost for the gift of the Son of God and His vicarious sacrifice for our salvation, but also for all the gifts of God.

Indeed, God Himself is pure gift.  From all eternity, the Divine Life consists of the self-giving and generous interplay of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The Father, from all eternity, gives Himself away in love to the Son.  The Son, from all eternity, gives Himself away to the Father in gratitude.  The Holy Spirit, from all eternity, is this very Love between the Father and the Son.

And God communicates this goodness to us through the gifts of life, creation, and providence.  The more we realize our reasons for gratitude, the deeper our relationship with God can become; the deeper the relationship, the greater the spiritual blessings we receive, and the more obliged we are to show gratitude…and the joyful cycle continues.

Happy Thanksgiving all.  Take care!

Images from Wikipedia

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