These thoughts are written in the first person. They are my own thoughts but I write them in the first person so that you might think about yourself as your read them.
In the Marian feasts that we celebrate during the course of the year there is an underlying theme we might recall today. It is the theme of "gratitude." This theme is also important because, when I think about it, this is one word that is the foundation stone of my spiritual life. Each morning when I put my legs over the side of my bed, I look down at the two feet and ten toes. I wiggle the toes with a specific purpose. As they wiggle, these are the words I say aloud to myself (and, hopefully, the Guardian angel God has put in my life for me) "Well, thank you God. I made it through another day yesterday and through the night. They are wiggling. It is a sign I have so much to be thankful for. I know you will bless my day with many blessings ... I hope I am awake and realize them."
This is the grace that I think Mary reflects to me and hopefully to you each day. Gratitude. At those times when you feel out of sorts with yourself or your God, take out a piece of paper and begin to think about the many gifts you have received from God throughout your lifetime. You will need more than a small Post-It note!
The awareness of my need to be thankful leads me to this thought: look at all I have been given. I have encountered many successes in my life. It is important that I realize that those successes came to me from the goodness of God. My priesthood, my academic journey, my thoughts I share with you on this blog -- they are not because I was so this or so that. None of what I have or have accomplished would have been possible without the gifts of God. If you ever feel forgotten by God or others, just make that list. Reading it a few times will show you something about yourself ... what God wants from my life. Remember Cardinal Newman: God has a purpose for me; I have a mission. Do I know it? What this gratitude awareness leads to is humility. Yes, humility. Look at what I have done. All of this was possible because God blessed me.
And God gave me those gifts for a purpose, I know. What purpose: first and foremost for him to bring my gifts to the service of others who just might have the emptiness that something from my life might fill. That's humility: realizing God is using my gifts to further his kingdom.
Mary realized all of this in her life. That is why we have today "Mary's Prayer." "My soul magnifies the Lord!" Self, remember this: I have the same opportunity as Mary, to write or say my own prayer that speaks my heart to the Creator God who made me who I am and with the gifts that I have. Father, I pray that I will never lose my awareness of your goodness to me.
So, now mindful of so many blessings, "Sing a happy song!"