Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Unappreciated Blessings

I complained bitterly about the blister on my toe, until I saw the smiling man who had no legs.

This past week I received a reminder of just how blessed I am. It was in the form of a note from a man I recently met, wherein he thanked me for some trifle I had done for him, and I realized that to him it was no trifling thing; it was a blessing.

Me? Bestowing blessings on people? Yes, I realized, even me. God could use me, even as He has used so many little unimportant people in the past. And at least in this instance He used me not for some great miraculous thing that the world would notice and be written about as the saints’ miracles are remembered, but instead He used me for some simple task, noticed only by one man. But yet, even in this small thing, I had done His will. How often had I done things like this in the past, and never been aware of the? And how often have blessings like this been bestowed upon me, perhaps even at some great price to the giver, and yet I was unaware, and unappreciative? How often has God watched over me, and I took His love for granted?

I was thinking of the note I received and the many blessings God has given me in my life as our priest began his sermon this past Sunday. He spoke about some blessings our Church has had, and which perhaps may not be taken away. Were they too unappreciated blessings, I wondered?

Our pastor, Fr. Ed. Fride, noted how new laws (dictates, really) from our government were requiring that we must change our Catholic beliefs, noting that we have a year to get used to the idea. He quipped that “it will be a cold in …” before that happened. (You can listen to his sermon on podcast here:) He expounded on some of the changes, to the hospitals and Catholic schools we support with our donations. In the nearby Catholic high school, where we pay teachers to explain what sin is to our children, we will now be required to pay for those same teachers to sin. How can what they say matter to our children when the opposite is flaunted in what they do? It will make it illegal to teach our children our Catholic faith without first publically ridiculing that teaching, even as it is done in other countries where Catholics are being ridiculed --- and killed.

Fr Ed went on to tell us how military chaplains were ordered not to preach just what he was preaching today, and some were ordered not to read biblical passages where homosexual actions are called sinful. He asked for prayers for our military chaplains, even as he called on us to be better evangelists and defenders of our faith, to better live our faith in this increasingly faithless society.

And I thought about all the ways in which I am blessed, and fail to give thanks to God for those blessings. His love and His blessings I just take for granted as if they will always be there. Like the Prodigal Son, I just spend His riches, as if the money and blessings will never run out. And His never will, but they may be taken away from us.

And I realized one thing further. This government, “our” government, which is giving us a year to get used to the idea of publicly supporting what God has revealed as sin, isn’t speaking to many of us. For many “Catholics,” in their hearts, might already agree with the government’s dictate. Like from Satan in the Garden, words they hear seem to say: “I know He said this is wrong, but it is no big thing. Trust me. You won’t die if you eat of this tree.”

“Trust me.” Jesus said those words, too.

I realized this Sunday that in my own heart I have often listened to, trusted, Satan. Some of the very sins the government is making light of, I myself committed. How many, many other Catholics have also done so, and will now receive the government’s blessings, and forgiveness, with relief? How many are hearing that this new law is no big thing. “Trust me. You won’t die.”

You won’t die. The Church’s teaching on the value of life and the sanctity and purpose of marriage, God’s values and purposes, are being ridiculed as unimportant or wrong. The teachings of the Church which we never really took the time to understand, unappreciated blessings, are being taken away from us --- and from our children. We were taught marriage is a good thing, a sacrament, but our kids will be and are being taught that sin is a good thing. They are being taught “Not God’s will, but MY will be done.” They are being taught that no longer “In God” do we trust.

Only we can change this. There are many petitions, letters to congressmen, and prayer vigils about. Look for them and DO something, while you still can.

And as I received Communion, I heart this hymn:

So here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that You’re my God. And You’re all together lovely, altogether worthy, altogether wonderful to me.

So many unappreciated blessings.


  1. This is excellent Tom! You got me with "Trust me. You won't die if you eat of this tree." I love that hymn you heard-wish we heard that at our church! We need so much prayer here in America!

  2. I believe not enough can be said in opposition to not only this latest poke by the current administration but said about the administration as a whole. The sooner we realize that the gloves have come off years ago and we, as catholics are at war with the dark angels and the principalities, the sooner we may have a small chance to survive. The darkness has invaded our government, leaving the catholic faith as the one sheild left in this world. You talk of God watching over us and He really does, in more ways that we can see. Thank you for many great insights. k

  3. At least in this area, Anne, the churches are getting better; pastors are more open to preaching and teaching the truth. Vocations at my parishes and others in the area are turning out good young priests, who understand the faith and love it.

    Unfortunately, Keith, I think it is not only the government which is fighting our Church. The local Detroit papers ran editorials lauding the Obama/Sebelius dictate and great numbers of letters trashing anyone and anything Catholic. It appears we will have every opportunity to stand up, as the early Christians did, and say we believe, even at risk to our lives and reputations. I pray daily for our country, and that ever more people will seek and see the truth.