If you hang out in the same kind of circles I do, you may have heard (or seen on Facebook) the assertion from theologian Meister Eckhart that “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” I like this thought, in a certain sense, because it steers us toward gratitude and away from the “Gimme! No fair! Help! Why me?!” line of prayer that we can be so prone to embrace. Gratitude is a beautiful and just response to God; we should indeed acknowledge and thank Him for EVERYTHING – even the gifts that seem at first to be the very opposite (see Ephesians 5:19-20).
But today I’d like to challenge us to wonder if gratitude is really enough.
Twice now, I have said, “I love you” directly to a dying person. One was a nun; one was my mother. Each of them responded with a straightforward “Thank you.” Ouch.
On a very practical level, I know these women loved me because they said it in the way they lived their lives. And I recognize that in their leave-taking, the words might have been too difficult to produce. But, oh! How I wish they had been able to use the words! Wouldn’t we all much rather hear “I love you for who you are” rather than “Thanks for being useful”? Both are important, but one is better. Sweeter. More intimate and more vital. It’s the chasm between Praise and Adoration, the difference between Martha and Mary, the supercharged, crackling space between Appreciation and Passion.
Jesus is a passionate lover. He’ll take whatever we’re willing to give, but I’m betting He’d rather have the LOVE. St. Therese of Lisieux says it this way: “Oh! I feel more than ever that Jesus is thirsty. He meets only ungrateful and indifferent people among the disciples of the world, and among His own disciples, He finds, alas! few hearts that give themselves to Him without reserve, who understand all the tenderness of His infinite love.”
Will we offer Him a drink?
Parish Catechetical Leader