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Thanksgiving and Intercession

There are five different basic types of Christian Prayer: Adoration, Petition, Intercession, Thanksgiving, and Praise. In this article, the author deals with the prayer of thanksgiving and Intercession.

The prayer of thanksgiving is the most beautiful way of expressing gratitude which is the heart of life. The more gratitude we have in our hearts the better we live. And yet, as Pope Francis has said, too many people have forgotten three words: please, sorry, and thanks. These words have been forgotten especially in relating to God. The text that follows presents the lack of gratitude of an elderly man towards God, which eventually and fortunately was turned into thanksgiving.

A 73-year-old man was in a hospital seriously ill with the coronavirus. During his confinement, he was being helped to breathe from an oxygen source for several weeks. He had just been discharged when he saw the hospital bill with the cost of the use of the oxygen.  All of a sudden he started to sob and exclaimed, “The cost of oxygen was so high!” 

The hospital administrator told him that a discount could be considered. The man told her that he was crying not because of the bill. He was crying because while he had to pay so much for the oxygen he used for a few weeks, he had never thanked God for the air he had breathed his entire life. He asked the persons who were with him: “Do you realize what a heavy debt I  have with God for the air I have been using for free for so many years?”

The words of this man should make us reflect. How many gifts from God do we take for granted? We may think about the Eucharistic Celebration, the greatest prayer of thanksgiving that is being ignored by so many Christians.    

How many gifts do we receive from our dear ones and see them as things due to us?  We should become more aware of the gifts we have received and continually receive especially from God, knowing that gratitude towards Him is not just a matter of good manners. It is also a matter of faith. 

Gratitude sustains us and makes us stronger and unafraid. Moreover, St. Augustine says that gratitude multiplies the gifts of God.                                                                                                                                                              
The prayer of intercession is of great importance in our life. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, number 2635, we read: “Intercession is a prayer of petition leading us to pray as Jesus did. He is the one intercessor with the Father on behalf of men, especially sinners. He is “able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)  “The Holy Spirit intercedes for us… and intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26-27)

Other passages in the Holy Scripture vividly show the power of intercession in God’s presence. For example, we have the invocation of some people asking Jesus to cure a paralytic. This sick person did not say any word and the Gospel says, “Seeing their faith, Jesus cured him” thanks to the intercession of his friends. Moreover, he worked a miracle going much beyond what they had in their mind. They were expecting Jesus to heal him physically; instead, Jesus also cured his inner self as he said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

In the Gospel of St. Luke, Jesus gives a very beautiful example of intercession in His prayer to the Father on behalf of His persecutors: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). 

Considering the challenges, the evils, and the sufferings we are called to bear in our world today, I invite you to pray with me for the whole of humanity, asking God to forgive our personal and social sins and to give all people the grace of conversion. 

“Father, you know our hearts and our crooked ways. Cleanse us from every sin and set us free through the intercession of Mary and all saints, in the name of Jesus, our Lord!” 

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