Thursday, November 28, 2013


It occurred to me recently just how many American friends we have - the vast majority of whom we met in another former British colony - Hong Kong. 

do love my American friends but feel it's my duty as an Englishman abroad to resist the temptation to call a "film" a "movie" and a "nappy" a "diaper".  I confess to having failed in both of these at times and have even addressed friends as "dude" rather than "sir".  

One American custom I do very much approve of is that of Thanksgiving. This particular celebration is a reminder though to give thanks at all times and in all circumstances even when we might not naturally feel like doing so. 
Once at a Mass in English I was getting more and more irritated. There was a projector showing the congregation the words to sing on a screen by the altar. The words were scribbled badly and the grammar was appalling. At one point it even suggested that we should engage in polytheistic worship as it stated: "gods' glory is all around."

I found myself looking away and remembered the inportance of gratitude: I thanked God that I was able to attend Mass, that I have a wonderful wife and that someone had at least gone to the effort to try and help people sing along. I found myself becoming aware that a domestic helper - and thousands like her - worked solidly for six days a week to support family in another country and the one day they have free they spend serving God. My whole perspective changed in a matter of moments and after Mass I found myself wishing to thank her for all she does. 

Gratitude works - let's remember to thank God for so much that we probably take for granted each day. I thank God that I'm a Catholic Christian, that my wife shares my faith and inspires me, for my life, my amazing friends and yes - for any enemies I have too - these can bring us grace when we forgive and seek forgiveness. 

Every joy and suffering, every event and need can become the matter for thanksgiving which, sharing in that of Christ, should fill one’s whole life: “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess 5:18). Catechism #2648

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