- First Reading: 2 Kings 5:14-17
- Psalm: 98:1-4
- Second Reading: 2 Timothy 2:8-13
- Gospel: Luke 17:11-19
By Jeff Hedglen
Catholic News Service
I am terrible at sending thank-you notes. If I don’t do it right away it usually doesn’t get done. It is not that I am not thankful; I am truly grateful for the service or gift I have received. I am just forgetful, especially when the next day is filled with more activity and soon the thought of thanking the individual slips from my radar.
My negligence in sending thanks in a note is much like my neglecting to give thanks in my prayer life.
When I teach about how to pray I use an acrostic for the word “pray”:
- Praise and thank God.
- Repent for your sins.
- Ask for what you and those you love need.
- Yield to God’s will in your life.
This can be used as a prayer formula or just as a guide to make sure you are, at least from time to time, including all the basic aspects of communication with God in your life of prayer.
I am pretty good at the asking part, and through music, Scripture and Mass I regularly praise God. The examination of conscience and sacrament of reconciliation help me repent of my sins, and I try to always end my petitions with the prayer: “God grant me all of these things, or in your wisdom give me something even better.” This is my way of yielding to the Lord’s right of way in my life.
What I too often miss is thanking God for all He has given me and for answered prayers. Things often play out as they do in this week’s Gospel.
I beg God for help and when He comes through for me, I am happy and go along my merry way glad to have my prayer answered. I tend to be like the nine lepers that do not return to thank God for the blessings that have been showered upon me.
It is not so much that God needs our thanks, but more that we need to thank God to complete the initial request. Just as it is the right thing to do to send a thank-you note to a friend, so it is right to send a thank-you prayer to God for the gifts He has given us.
Questions for reflection:
- What are you most thankful to God for?
- How do you express your gratitude to God?