Living in a Spirit of Thanksgiving

The Virgin Mary declared “my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” (Luke 1:47) God looked with favor upon the humility and selflessness of the Mother of His Son Jesus. Do we live in a spirit of thanksgiving where we say thank you to God every day for His love and blessings?

Here’s some powerful discipline I was reading about that St. Ignatius developed. This exercise will help us to live in a spirit of thanksgiving.

St. Ignatius was a soldier before he founded the Jesuits, one of the first religious communities that left the monastery to work in the world. I read that St. Ignatius’ appreciation of the blessings of God was so intense that God’s love often moved him to tears in public. St. Ignatius taught that a daily examination of conscience was a critical element in being faithful to God. The St. Ignatius method is summarized in the word BAKER, with each letter representing a different process of examination.

B=Blessings: St. Ignatius emphasized that we need to think about what blessings God has given us each day so that we can live in a true spirit of thanksgiving.

A=Ask:  We need to ask Jesus for the grace to recognize our sins including both the poor choices we have made, as well as the good choices we failed to make.

K=Kill:  Our sins killed Jesus. Having asked Jesus for the grace to recognize our sins, we then have to reflect on the moments when we have fallen down in God’s eyes. Where did we fail to respond as Jesus would have? Did we get angry when we should have been patient and compassionate? Did we fail to help someone because we were more preoccupied with our own selfish needs? Is our schedule full of things that cater to our own personal desires or are we actively considering God’s needs and being charitable? Are we praying for our neighbors or just for ourselves? Are we guilty of breaking God’s Law of Love?

E=Embrace:  Let us always remember how much Jesus wants to forgive us and allow Him to embrace us with His tender heart full of mercy. Remember Jesus told St. Peter there is no limit to the number of pardons He will grant; however that should not mean we should create the new world record on the number of pardons required to save us.  Jesus suffered so much for us.  He allowed Himself to be tortured and killed for our sins.  Jesus did not want to punish us, but rather to forgive us and assure us a place in His eternal kingdom. So let us honor Jesus, by meditating on the depth of His love, for it is boundless; it is infinite!

At 3 pm, the hour Jesus died for us, I see Jesus dying on the Cross for our salvation and I embrace Him as He embraces me and all my sins. I thank Him for loving us so much that He would suffer such brutal agony to open the gates of Paradise to us. Will you join me in embracing Our Holy Lord by doing this too every day at 3pm, if only for a brief moment?

R=Resolve…John the Baptist tells us to bear fruit worthy of repentance.  In other words, let’s not keep making the same mistakes over and over again and let’s go the extra mile to prove to God that we really want to honour and love Him.

A special thank you to Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, a member of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception for teaching me the “BAKER” Principle in his book “Consoling the Heart of Jesus”.

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