I am thankful for:
- Ellie, my sweetheart of a wife.
I would hope the reason for this is obvious.
- The downing of the Russian passenger aircraft, for which ISIS took responsibility ( and wanted, can you believe it, credit ).
My gratitude is that neither I nor any of my loved ones were on that plane.
- The visit of Pope Francis to the United States.
I am grateful that he is the leader of my faith family.
- The synod on the family that Pope Francis called and presided over.
The specific outcome(s) of the Synod are not important; I am grateful for his calling for it, for his asking for input about it from the laity, and for his consistent message to the clergy in attendance: speak your mind, disagree if that what is on your mind, debate and disagreement are the marks of a church that is alive.
- The many snippets ( sound bites if you will ) that Pope Francis has uttered ... and some of these precede this year The general tone is home-spun rather than intellectual wisdom, the kind most everyone can relate to. And it speaks of a church more interested in the people of the Church than the Church itself. A sampling:
- "Who am I to judge?"
- "I see the church as a field hospital after battle."
- "I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God ... "
- "Men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption:"
- "It is harder to let ourselves be loved than it is to love."
- The ISIS attack(s) in Paris
While I certainly abhor both the attacks and the evil behind them, I am grateful they didn't happen here and that they didn't directly touch anyone that I know.
- On a much more personal level, there are a number of 2015 events and people I encountered that inspire gratitude.
- The retreat I went on just after Easter; it was a wonderful experience.
- The fall that Ellie experienced while I was on retreat did nothing more than worry most everyone connected with it.
- Ellie's moving in with Loretta to help care for her cancer ... I am grateful she was able to do that and proud of her for so doing
- My ability to cope while Ellie was gone.
- The extraordinary grace Loretta brought to her entire dying experience.
- The friends of Loretta's who came to see her while she was in hospice and brought more than enough love to fill the room.
- The staff at the Hospice who did so much to keep Loretta comfortable and welcome Ellie and everyone who came to visit Loretta
- The staff at the Basilica who did so much to make Loretta's funeral and burial a celebration of her life.
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