During this week, I moved on from Daniel to Hosea. Both of the first two books focus on God's great disappointment with the people of Israel, especially in their unwillingness to show any gratitude for what they have been given (food, drink, clothing) or to notice from Whom it came -- and also in their once again turning away from God to the worship of the false god, Baal.
Reading: Hosea 2:13
Meditation: We all know that an attitude of ingratitude does not pertain only to ancient Israel. It seems to be a perverse part of human nature. Even if we generally move through life with an attitude of gratitude for all the good things that God gives, we tend to feel and show less gratitude to the things that one might not be quick to label "good." For example, when my kids -- and then my grandkids -- were born with life-challenging and life-impairing birth defects, the last thing I wanted to say at the time was "Thank You, God, for these challenges." Yet, is it not the challenges we meet in life, whether it is birth defects, some obstructions at work, financial difficulties, personal health issues, or thwarted desires, that are the greatest gift? From the challenges, we learn. From the challenges, we draw closer to God and to each other because we need each other in order to cope with and overcome them. Perhaps the next time something "bad" happens to us, we should respond with the words, "Thank You, God, for trusting me with this experience," and then trust God to help us through it and to help us to gain from it.
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to praise God for His greater understanding of just what a "gift" is and to thank Him for trusting me with many challenges throughout my life -- and helping me with them. I will ask forgiveness for those times that I have not responded to those gifts with the appropriate gratitude. I will also ask God to continue to build my trust in Him to lead me to and through any challenge. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.