Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavens. (Eph 1: 3)
These words of St. Paul to the Ephesians encourage us, too, to be mindful of and grateful for all the spiritual blessings the Lord in his goodness has given us. Therefore . . .
I’m grateful for the very gift of life. God didn’t have to create me, but he did, and he has given me a good and rich life. I’m grateful that I was baptized into the Catholic Church, the Body of Christ, the pure reflection of the perfect Church Jesus established, and which throughout its history has accomplished enormous good for humanity.
I’m grateful for those people who have shared with me the gift of the Catholic Faith, beginning with my parents who introduced me to the faith, and all of the fine pastors and teachers, priests and religious, who taught me and modeled the faith in their daily lives.
I’m grateful for the call to be a priest and bishop, the vocations which have informed and consumed my life, vocations which have been for me a source of joy, fulfillment, and meaning despite my failure to appreciate and communicate their sublime dignity and richness.
I’m grateful for the parishes and dioceses where I’ve served, and the many wonderful people I’ve met along the way. The friendship of individuals and families has helped me, and their fidelity, in the face of trials and disappointments, has inspired me. From them I’ve received so much more than I’ve given.
I’m grateful for the gift of the Holy Eucharist, the Bread of Life, which has fed me and strengthened me in every chapter of my life’s story, wherever I’ve gone and whatever I’ve done. In the Eucharist, Jesus has been my Good Shepherd and faithful companion.
I’m grateful for the many holy places I’ve been privileged to live and visit, places that have nurtured me and strengthened my faith, beginning with my home in Pittsburgh, and then in distant places like Rome, the Holy Land, Guadalupe and Fatima.
And I’m grateful for the faith, trust and prayerfulness of our Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, virtues that challenge me daily, and that she stands always ready to help “anyone who flees to her for protection.”
Something to think about: What are the spiritual blessings for which you are grateful?