Thank God for God: Being Grateful for Gratitude

Several months ago, I came across a conversation on X (formerly Twitter) that made me think about the horrors of hell in a completely different way. Instead of shuddering at the torture imposed on damned souls by demons and other cursed creatures, I had to stop and consider the torture damned souls impose on themselves.

“There is not a single grateful thought in hell,” said Father Brian O’Brien, echoing a statement attributed to noted exorcist Father Chad Ripperger.

Hell is eternal separation from God, as all Christians know, and most people think of hell as wallowing in an endless bath of fire surrounded by warring demons tormenting physical bodies that can no longer die. But, as Father Ripperger says, he perceived that hell is also a permanent state of mind that prohibits thoughts about God and the goodness of his creation, including our neighbors.

In other words, hell is infinite fixation on oneself. If there is no God, then man is the highest being of him. Such a powerful position may seem tempting at first. As Satan infamously states in “lost paradise“”It is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.”

But Milton’s Satan lies, as the real Satan always does, and we now live in a self-created hell because we have accepted his lies and tried to recreate ourselves instead of accepting our subordinate role as created beings. People have irreparably mutilated their bodies (or worse, the bodies of their children) in a vain attempt to change sex. We have torn down statues and destroyed monuments in an effort to get rid of the past.

In a recent opinion article in the nationtwo left-wing writers even considered eliminating Thanksgiving altogether, a civic holiday that reminds us of our interconnectedness and shared smallness, and replacing it with “Truth Action,” which would apparently be little more than an annual activist sermon. perpetually aggrieved.

Chase Iron Eyes called the story of the first Thanksgiving feast a “new myth” created by “aliens in a foreign land” who needed “a sense of people, purpose and place.”

His colleague Sean Sherman argued that the “sanitized version of Thanksgiving makes no mention of the violence, land theft, and subsequent destruction of indigenous populations… [and] “It causes tremendous distress to those of us who are still recovering from the trauma of these events in our communities.”

I can’t imagine a more miserable way to spend a day than to focus on the sufferings of those long dead rather than the blessings of the current age. And everyone, no matter their circumstances, still has something and someone to give thanks for.

The purest form of gratitude we can have is to God for His own good. Those recovering from addiction understand well the importance of God as He is, and a youth recovery group in my area has an appropriate motto that keeps Him at the forefront of their minds: Thank God for God.

After thanking God for himself, we must also appreciate his many gifts. Jesus Christ is Lord of everything “in heaven, on earth, and under the earth,” as St. Paul’s letter to the Philippians reminds us, and everything we have comes from Him. We cannot possibly repay Him for His generosity. , but at least we can dedicate one day a year to reflect on it.

Finally, we should be grateful for each other. Mother Teresa, now Saint Teresa of Calcutta, once said that “if we do not have peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” If we belong to each other, then we must love, serve, and give thanks for each other.

And by others I don’t mean strangers from past generations, but rather our family, friends and neighbors of the here and now. Of course, we should remember loved ones who have passed away, but we do not honor the memory of the dead by forgetting the living.

Gratitude to God and others gives meaning and purpose to our lives. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the opportunity to experience and express that gratitude. Whatever it takes, I want to spend eternity shoulder to shoulder with all the saints in heaven thanking Him and praising Him, and forever avoid the only place without Him, the only place where a “grateful thought” cannot exist.

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