Bless the Lord, fire and heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, winter cold and summer heat, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, dews and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, nights and days, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord,light and darkness,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.Bless the Lord,ice and cold,sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, frosts and snows, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Bless the Lord, lightnings and clouds, sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever. Let the earth bless the Lord; let it sing praise to him and highly exalt him for ever.”
— DANIEL 3 : 4 4 – 5 2
There has been many a winter morning when I was scraping snow and ice from my car when the words of this prayer have come to my lips, often, I must confess, rather sarcastically.
Too often we forget that God has a plan that doesn’t quite match up to ours. If our plans and possessions dominate us, we can become very ungrateful in life and perhaps even feel cursed. Yet if we die to ourselves and adore God, giving thanks to God in all things, even when we are standing in the flames, or freezing in the ice and snow, we’ll find that God has a reason and purpose for everything. As St.Teresa of Ávila said,“There is no such thing as bad weather. All weather is good because it is God’s.”
There is an American friar whose cause for sainthood is currently before Rome. His name is Father Solanus Casey; he was a Capuchin Friar who ministered in Detroit, New York, and Huntington, Indiana. He died over forty years ago. I often walk the grounds of the former friary where he served in Huntington and think about his ministry. Born of Irish immigrants, he was sent to German seminaries where the priests taught him in German how to speak Latin. He didn’t fare too well — who would?
Eventually he was ordained but not allowed to preach doctrinal sermons or hear confessions. In a time when there was more of a caste system in religious life he was given a “brothers’ job” as porter. People sought him out near and far.They found great wisdom in his words, and great miracles of healing were recorded after his prayer and touch. Many were converted.
In many ways, it would seem that he would have had much to be bitter about. He was obviously one of the most gifted friars in the community, but he was treated as one who had little to offer.
Yet he was not bitter, and his advice to people who requested prayer and healing is interesting. He told them to “thank God ahead of time”— as an act of faith.He often also had them enroll in a Mass association as a way of giving thanks to God.
This is a beautiful message for us: to thank God in all things, to be thankful for everything that life brings to us even if to all appearances it doesn’t seem there is anything to be thankful for, and to thank God ahead of time,trusting that in God’s time good will come from it all.
The Eucharist is all about “giving thanks,” and how much you and I can do so at any given moment is dependent upon how deeply we are adoring and worshiping God.Offering God our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving will help us to get the most from the Eucharist.