My dear Covenant Partners and GEM Family:
In almost every letter, St. Paul is giving thanks to God, sometimes ceaselessly, sometimes exuberantly. His gratitude fortifies his trust that God will keep firm his various communities to the end, and irreproachable on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1Corinthians 1: 8). This trust is based on God’s faithfulness to His people. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul gives thanks to God constantly at the way the Philippians have continually helped to promote the gospel. In Paul, gratitude always seems to be the outflow of amazement and praise at God’s marvelous favors and works among His people. Consequently, his gratitude moves into earnest petition on behalf of his flocks, asking God to provide them with the grace to remain faithful to Him.
What then is the basis of our prayer of gratitude? As creatures, we are beholden to God our Creator for the essence of our being. God upholds us in existence every waking and sleeping moment. In God, we live and move and have our being, regardless of whether we choose to have a relationship with Him or not. What is even more striking is that God has chosen to enter into a union of likeness with us. God chose Jesus Christ to be our Savior by dying on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Jesus’ death is the perfect sacrifice that has bought our forgiveness and salvation. We have now entered into a new and everlasting Covenant with our Triune God. We are God’s sons and daughters. We are now brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ.
Knowing full well our sinful and flawed lineage, God did not balk at making us divine heirs, giving us, His sons and daughters, all the rights and privileges that belong by right only to Jesus. Not only did God not hesitate to adopt us and change our blood lines in a manner of speaking, God then proceeded further to do the impossible by human standards, to make us holy and blameless through Jesus. Even though we have feet of clay, through God’s power and passionate investment in us, we can and will be transformed if we follow in the footsteps of Jesus, obeying His commandments and heeding His teachings with all our hearts, minds, and souls. In surrender to the Holy Spirit, our generosity and steadfastness will be provided to us by our Advocate. Already in this life, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ “has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens” (Ephesians 1: 3). We have every reason, therefore, to thank God continually for His constant barrage of blessings and graces being poured out upon us through Jesus. Remember: Practice Gratitude constantly and you will have the peace and joy of the Risen Lord! God bless you. You are in our daily prayers!