A fellow parishioner recently told me about one of her prayer practices. It consists of praying for people or gifts, naming one for each letter of the alphabet. This exercise has often saved me from a mood of self-pity. Here’s my partial list:
A – for the Air I breathe.
B – for Bob who’s recovering from hip replacement surgery.
C – for Christ.
D – for the Divine image in which I’m created.
E – for the Everlasting fidelity of God.
F – for my Family and Friends.
G – for Graces received.
. . . and so forth.
Needless to say, we could never exhaust the number of gifts to be thankful for. But how often (if ever) have we thanked God for difficulties?
Here’s something I learned from a nurse caring for my post-surgical husband. On her lap she had a folder full of papers which, as she moved, slid onto the floor and scattered. “Thank you, Lord,” she uttered as she calmly retrieved the papers. She explained that her mother had taught her this practice.
What a revelation! I thought this was definitely worth trying, so the next time I spilled juice on my kitchen floor, I repeated, “Thank you, Lord.” Normally, I’d have expressed an angry, frustrated “oath.” The thank-you was much more peace-giving.
Here’s a litany of negatives common to every life and which, on the face of it, would hardly appear to be graces:
- For the nuisance of being stuck on a two-lane road behind a vehicle driving 10 miles below the speed limit. — Thank you, Lord
- For disappointment over a long-anticipated event that has fallen through. — Thank you, Lord
- For an illness that gives me the opportunity to practice trust and patience. — Thank you, Lord
Again, I find myself quoting little Thérèse who transformed all events into a grace. I leave it to your imagination to create your own litany. And to all you readers,
I do not cease giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers.