When we hear the two words thankful and grateful I find that both words are truly a blessing from the Almighty God the Father creator of all.
I just received a beautiful thank you card from our Father Irenaeus who celebrated this past month his 100th birthday, and what a blessing to have him in so many peoples lives that have been touched by his love and dedication.
He talked about being thrilled being picked up and put into the fire truck as they made their way from Saint Anthony's to holy Cross Friary at the University of Quincy. About a 7 mile parade route, he said that he had a grand time. And I quote he said, "what a thrill." I would have loved to been there to see it all happening, to see his smile, to see his eyes glimmering with joy. What a blessing Father has been to so many of us.
Father sent me a beautiful hymn and I'd like to read it to you because it captures everything about Father Ire.
We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land but it is fed and watered by God's Almighty hand, he sends the snow and winter, the warmth to swell the grain, the breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rains:
All good gifts around us are present from heaven above, then thank the Lord, oh thank the Lord for all his love.
As I said this very short hymn captures Father Ire to a tee. He truly is one who always likes the beauty of God's creation. His gardens at St Anthony's parish in Quincy Illinois are phenomenal. He continues to do the same at the friary at Holy Cross with his vegetables especially his sweet potato plants and the many different kinds of flowers that surround the friary. 100 years old and still bringing joy and love to those whom he loves through God's creation.
One very important gift Father also has that he continues to share with the people of God is his love for Mass and for the Liturgy of the Hours, (the Divine Office) along with all the many devotions that he prays each day. He truly is a man of God, and he will still say that he continues to try to be the best he can be, he says sometimes he feels like he's not doing enough, wow if you're saying that at 100, who will be saved? Putting all humor aside, I know that Father is a very holy man and we've all benefited from his holiness.
What can we all learn from all this, man of God, one thing we can learn, is that we should always be Easter people, filled with the joy of God's love in his creation. Filled with the joy of being present to others who are in need.
I know all of us friars give thanks for the life of Father Ire, may he continue to strengthen those who know him, and that they will continue to walk in the way of love and joy for others.
I would suggest today, that you spend some time feasting your eyes on God's beautiful creation around you, take a good look at a tree's to see the new branches that are sprouting and the leaves that have bloomed. God is in all that and much more.
Have a wonderful day give it all to God because God has given it all to you.
Brother Ed, OFM