Growing in Faith
A Holy Union Reflection for November 2019
What is your favorite Holiday?
Children usually pick Christmas as their favorite, with all the gifts, Santa Claus, lights, and music. Adults usually choose Thanksgiving, as there are no last-minute gifts to worry about, no store lines to deal with, and no stress in finding that perfect gift.
Thanksgiving is a day to gather with family and friends to give thanks to God. In our society, writing a thank you note for a gift is considered proper etiquette. If you were to write a thank you note to God, what would it say? Thank you for the food we eat? Thank you for my warm house? Thank you for my beautiful car? Thank you for my family and friends? I would add a special thank you for my vocation to Holy Union, and for the one hundred and twenty-five years we’ve celebrated for being in the United States.
But how do you say thank you when you’ve lost your job this year? Or you’re sick and struggling with the challenges of life? Or money is tight, and there are bills to pay? Or someone close to you has died? How do you say thank you when suffering has enveloped your life? How to you have a grateful heart?
For so many, life is often a constant struggle. The problems seem to mound and mound, and can become overwhelming. You can begin to question God. “God, why is this happening?” How can you live the scripture we hear from Saint Paul which says, “Give thanks to God at all times, and for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”?
There is a story of a man who is watching a butterfly come out of its cocoon. He watched it struggle trying to break free. In an effort to help it, the man took a small sharp knife and carefully slit the edge of the cocoon so the butterfly could easily slip out. The butterfly escaped from its problem, and died. You see, it is God’s way to have the butterfly struggle. To break itself from the cocoon the butterfly’s heart must beat faster and allow its life’s blood to flow into its wings, making them strong. Trials have their purpose. They make us struggle. They may bring us to our knees. It can be the cocoon in which we often find ourselves. It is there that our life’s blood of faith in God helps us to spread our wings. It is in our suffering that we can become strong. Our faith doesn’t take away sadness and pain, but it allows us to see beyond these to cope with these pains because of our sure hope that Christ’s victory over sin and death will be ours in the end. So even in times of suffering and tears we must give thanks to God for the ability to go on. For in this pain, I promise you, you will find the blessing.
In the beginning of this reflection I asked you a question, “What would your thank you note to God say?” With your permission I would like to write one for all of us.
“Thank you, God, for the courage that comes through suffering; for the ability to do more, the more I do; for the knowledge that all things work together for Good for those who love the Lord. Grant that we may show our thanks not only with our lips but with our lives. Amen”
Our November reflection comes to us by Sr. Kathleen Corrigan, SUSC, a Holy Union Sister. Many thanks to Sr. Kathee.