Living the Gospel – July 1, 2018

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“I will praise you, Lord, for you have rescued me. Sing praise to the LORD, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.”

Our readings today extend far beyond my theological education –miracles of healing and the call to a radical sharing of one’s goods, etc., go far beyond my ordinary life experiences. However, I love the Psalms and this one is a favorite. It’s also linked to a story from years ago that had an unexpected outcome for a man who became a friend.

Fast forward – on July 15th, I’m traveling to Kahnawake, Quebec to attend a powwow. It’s called Echoes of a Proud Nation and takes place on Kateri Island. Many places on this territory are named for St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the Mohawk girl who spent the last days of her life there – and many First Nations People are devoted to her memory. When I was visiting there years ago, I met an elderly man who, in his youth, aspired to become a priest. But as his life unfolded, he turned away from the faith of his childhood.

But he didn’t turn away from God. Instead, he embraced the traditional Long House, a “way” structurally similar to Judaism. When I asked him if he was happy there, he simply said “yes, all we do is give thanks…and we dance.”

When I read this Psalm, I see a common thread weaving throughout our differing yet similar spiritualities. I also see it in contemporary psychological sciences and its presence in many cultures. The thread is gratitude – for life; for our loved ones; for food and shelter; for all of Creation, the list is endless. A few questions: Do we rejoice and dance in gratitude to our Creator? We can. Do we say thank you for each new day? I hope so. Do we thank God for the gift of our faith? Let’s do it.

Giving thanks for all of you,
Dorothy A. Hathway, CSJA