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Walking Our Faith: Thank you, thank you, thank you

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith

I’ll ask you to excuse me this week because as I recount my experience from last Tuesday’s Mass, I still get a smile on my face. And quite honestly, it’s inexplicable to me.

I arrived around 7:45 a.m. so that I could pray before Mass began. My prayers usually entail a laundry list of things I want to ask God’s help with.

But on Tuesday morning, I knelt, bowed my head and said “thank you” in the silence of my mind. I found myself repeating “thank you” over and over and over again.



After a few minutes of this one-note prayer, I began to wonder what I was thanking God for?

Certainly, I had good reason to be thankful. Over the weekend, Mom had moved from the hospital to the rehab center. She had settled in quite nicely, and her pain management was beginning to work.



She began to sound like her old self in our phone conversations, and I was so grateful to see her beautiful smiling face via FaceTime even if her face was bruised from her fall in the kitchen, which had resulted in a fractured hip that required surgery and a fractured arm that required a splint.

I was also very grateful for the emails I received from readers and friends who promised to keep Mom in their prayers. There is nothing better than to experience the prayers of others praying with you and for you. I am so grateful for your prayers. Thank you.

But on Tuesday, I realized I was thanking God for the realization of how much joy I experienced attending an 8 a.m. Mass on a weekday.

I have tried for years to make the 8 a.m. weekday Mass a habit, and I failed every time because it felt like an obligation. But then I began attending weekday Mass during the pandemic. Once a week became twice a week and then sometimes three times a week. Suddenly, attending weekday 8 a.m. Mass wasn’t something I did out of obligation but something I did because it brought me joy.

“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’” — Psalm‬ ‭122:1‬ ‭ESV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

When I am struggling with bouts of depression, which thankfully come less often nowadays, I often repeat this verse, “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” I will repeat it over and over, and somehow that promise provides a glimmer of hope in my personal darkness.

But what I experienced Tuesday was the joy of the Lord that was my strength when I spent more time with God. For me, that means attending Mass multiple times a week.

When Mom first arrived at the rehab center, she was in so much pain she said it felt as if every bone in her body was broken, and she spent a sleepless first night in tears.

Mom remembered a Bible verse that says, “weeping may last for a night but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). Now that she is feeling better, that verse takes on new meaning.

Mom still has a long road of recovery, but her spirit is strong, and I believe that makes all the difference.

I believe the joy of the Lord truly is our strength. Sometimes it sustains us like a guardian during a dark night, as it did for my mother. At other times, it comes like a gentle rain to show us of how far we have come.

I believe that’s what I experienced at the 8 a.m. Mass on Tuesday morning, a gentle outpouring of the Holy Spirit to remind me that I will always find joy in the presence of the Lord.

What I’m reading

“Grace Bomb: The Surprising Impact of Loving Your Neighbors” by Patrick Linnell

From the book description: ”Grace bombs are intentional acts of love prompted by the Holy Spirit: offering an extra tip to a hardworking server, giving up a seat on an airplane or making a meal for the ER nurse next door. When we grace bomb our neighbors, our spouses or strangers on the street, we are responding to God’s call to love those people in generous and surprising ways. Drawing on rich examples from Scripture and everyday life, grace bomb shows us how we can:

• Go beyond cultural expectations of kindness

• Deepen our sensitivity to the Holy Spirit

• Overcome barriers such as fear, busyness and prejudice

• Have fun while exercising our faith beyond Sundays

• Break the ice with our neighbors today

With inspiring stories from people around the world who have discovered the joy of grace bombing, this energizing book helps you put your love into action right away. Most importantly, it helps you use that action to show others the true source of love with no strings attached: Jesus.”


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