1 Thessalonians 1:1-5, 8b-10
In the first reading today, St. Paul says,
We give thanks to God always for all of you,
remembering you in our prayers,
unceasingly calling to mind your work of faith and labor of love
and endurance in hope of our Lord Jesus Christ,
before our God and Father,
knowing, brothers and sisters loved by God, how you were chosen.
For our Gospel did not come to you in word alone,
but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction.
I don’t. Thank God, I mean. At least, not enough.
I know the ACTS of prayer – Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication – but tend to get stuck on the letter “S,” asking God for things. Of course I need to ask, but if that’s all I do then I risk treating God as little more than a divine vending machine. I also want to show God that I adore him, am sincerely sorry for my sins, and am grateful for all he has given.
Which is where you come in. For as St. Paul reminded me this morning, God has given me you: People practicing the faith in your daily life, working to love all you meet, and enduring in great hope of the promises of Jesus Christ. I do thank God for you.
But I can’t properly do that unless I also thank God for how you were chosen. Being self-centered and self-conscious, I get in the habit of behaving as if it all depends on me, that I must be eloquent enough, loving enough, patient enough. Those things are important but your faith doesn’t depend on them. No; as St. Paul reminded us, the Gospel comes to us not in word alone, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with much conviction. There is a power to the process far beyond any of us, working in ways we cannot understand, reaching us in depths no human being can go, touching and moving us in ways that nothing and no one else can.
If that’s not worthy of thanksgiving, then what is?