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For all our many blessings let us give thanks

I take so much for granted in my daily life. I walk to the door, flip a switch; the light goes on, bathing the room in illumination. I step into the kitchen, open the faucet, and safe, drinkable water pours forth. I open the fridge, and there's food enough to eat, including snacks. Many mornings I walk from my residence to church to celebrate Mass. Not only does the parish community provide me with a comfortable home, but we also share a safe, beautiful church in which we can gather to hear God's word in sacred Scripture, recall the Last Supper and then be sent into the world to be the presence of Christ.

Not once do I worry that some natural disaster may sweep all this goodness away. Nor do I worry that human violence or persecution will prevent me from worshiping God freely in the fashion that is of my own choosing. I do not fear for my life as I walk or drive the streets of my small mid-Michigan community. Although, at times, I wonder about and am even saddened by our nation's direction, I never find myself thinking that life would be so much better if I were to pick up and move elsewhere. I am blessed not to worry about such things, but I do also recall that but for a few generations past, my ancestors did.  

Lately, I find myself being more deliberate in remembering that the source of all I enjoy is not simply a reflection of human generosity or my own meager skills. The goodness I experience in my daily living is a reflection of a tremendously generous God. It is also built upon the lives of so many people who sacrificed a great deal and upon whose shoulders I now stand. I am also increasingly aware that there are those among us, unseen or unrecognized, who are living this sacrificial reality at this very moment.

Malambow Abdiqadir has known fear, persecution, and danger for a good portion of his young life. Having fled war-torn Somalia, he has found a family, safety, freedom and a new life here with the help of Catholic Refugee Services. Fr. Bennett Constantine, a native Sri Lankan, is helping his homeland to recover from the tsunami which wreaked such devastation upon the lives of so many half a world away. That area's recovery will not be measured in weeks or months, but rather in years. Fr. Ben's efforts are helping to restore the fundamental basics needed for life and foster continued awareness about the long road to recovery which lies ahead of so many who call the Indian Ocean basin home.

These early weeks of autumn are a time to gather the bounty of the year's harvest. With this time comes thankfulness to God " for blessings received and shared, freely given and unmerited " blessings that are neither our due nor our right. They are God-given gifts and should be acknowledged as such, accepted, shared and returned. And so our journey in FAITH continues.