Thank God for Your Faith

As you give thanks this Thanksgiving be sure to thank God for your Catholic faith! I hope you realize how truly blessed we are — we have so much more than other Christians. 

Begin with the fact that we have the Mass available to us every day, (except Good Friday).  Most Protestant congregations meet only twice a week, usually on Sunday and Wednesdays.  However for Catholics, Jesus is available in Communion almost every day of the year.  Under the appearance of bread and wine we encounter the same Jesus who walked the streets of Palestine, who changed water into wine, healed lepers and the paralytic, raised Lazarus from the dead and fed 5,000 men with a few loaves and fishes. We receive Jesus with all His power.  He waits for us to come and receive Him so that He can pour His love and blessings upon us.  Not only can we receive Him, but as Catholics we have the opportunity to worship and adore Him in the Tabernacle and exposed at Adoration.  At Benediction we are blessed by Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

The Eucharist alone is enough reason to rejoice at being Catholic but there is more.  We have been given the awesome gift of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  As Jesus revealed to St. Faustina he is present in the priest who hears our confession.  He speaks words of encouragement and guidance.  He pours out love and absolution.  We don’t have to worry if we were really forgiven.  We get to hear the words of absolution.  What a great feeling it is to walk out of church after Confession!

Yet there is more.  The Catholic Church offers so many ways for Jesus to touch us with His healing power.  There are the Sacraments, especially the Anointing of the Sick, but also the Eucharist and Reconciliation.  There are sacramentals such as relics of the saints, medals, holy water, water from shrines like Lourdes.  There are healing masses and the laying on of hands, just to mention the most common.

Consdier the incredible number of devotions and prayers which help us to draw closer to the Lord.  The rosary is a prayer of great power because Jesus chooses to honor the intercession of His Mother.  Meditating upon the 20 mysteries lead us through the life of Christ and help us to connect better with Him.  We have devotions to the Sacred Heart and the Divine Mercy both of which were given us by Jesus.  Almost every church has the Stations of the Cross which helps us to reflect on Jesus’ Passion.  Additionally there are countless novenas, litanies and other prayers.

We can’t forget the awesome gift of Jesus’ mother as our mother.  We have Mary and all the saints to join us in our prayers to God.  We have the lives of the saints to inspire and guide us.  We are blessed by the religious orders they left behind, their writings, prayers, and meditations.  There is so much about God and spirituality we can learn from the saints.

If we only understood all the graces available to us we would be amazed.  We are indeed a people extremely blessed by God.  We have so many unique blessings as Catholics. We have much to be grateful for.  This Thanksgiving take the time to reflect on how blessed you are to be Catholic and say thanks to God for this awesome privilege!

Ron Quinlan is a former teacher in the Archdiocese of Newark, now living in South Carolina.