Column: The importance of a grateful heart

Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org
Lesle Knop is the executive director of the archdiocesan office of stewardship and development. You can email her at: lesleknop@archkck.org

On the altars at many of our parishes are tableaux of autumn’s bounty


by Lesle Knop

Gourds,

pumpkins, fruits

and wheat shocks are arranged as reminders of God’s many gifts to us during this season of Thanksgiving. Indeed, we are blessed with much.

The peaceful abundance we enjoy as Americans living in Kansas is profoundly greater than what is available to most of the world’s inhabitants. I am reminded of this whenever I turn on the news and hear stories of destruction, suffering, persecution and hatred.

God sent Jesus into the world to live among us and teach us his ways of love.
Of all the gifts that we have received, love should be the most cherished. After all, at the end of our lives, what will matter the most?

Recently, one of our parish priests told me of his experience with a woman whose faith shined brightly even while her life was fading quickly from her. While the dying woman’s husband sat at the foot of her bed shedding tears, the priest prayed for the blessings that only God’s grace can give through the sacraments.

The woman told the priest that even though she was a bit frightened at the prospect of death, she was ready. Her heart was full of love.

“I felt that I was in the presence of a true saint,” the priest said.

We can’t carry our possessions with us at death. We can’t take our human bodies. We leave behind our reputations. When we go to our deaths, what do we carry with us?

One thing I don’t want to carry is an ungrateful heart.

Christian stewards are entrusted to cultivate and build God’s many gifts into a world filled with God’s goodness. God’s love transforms us. As stewards, we are tasked to help transform our world.

Recently, a Catholic family established the Mary, Star
of the New Evangelization Endowment Fund with the Catholic Foundation of Northeast Kansas to further the mission of the Catholic Church. This family’s example of fidelity to our faith in charity will help to provide for future needs of the local church. For information about how to give to the new fund, please visit the website.

The prayer to Mary, Star of the New Evangelization says: “May our study of his life lead us to love him, and our love for him lead us to imitate him. If we are what we should be, we will set the world ablaze and affect the culture.”

Faith is a gift, shared by example, from one person to another, one generation to the next.

So, too, is how to be grateful and loving in the midst of conflict and suffering.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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