This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad!
Did you read what happened in that verse? The author acknowledged God’s work of creation and God’s work in creation. What follows when God is acknowledged? His creation is glad and rejoices! We are glad and we rejoice. The heavens declare the glory of the Lord (Psalm 19). See what that psalm has to say about what happens to the person when we acknowledge God and give thanks to God our Creator.
Think for a minute, for eternity, what happens when our mind and heart are reordered by Thanksgiving? Gratitude and humility come from this attitude and way of life. “It is right and just,” “our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere…” to give thanks to God.
My four to five years in college were the most fulfilling and worthwhile years of my life. I entered expecting to move away from God and His Church. I held onto so much hurt, anxiety, and other unhealthy emotions. I was so good at hiding myself. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew I wanted to be away from the bad I had experienced.
In the last four to five years, I encountered something much unexpected. The friends I met freshman year were detached from their problems. They didn’t neglect them, but they handled them well. They had this weird and deep and real Christian joy, the spirit of thanksgiving. I was too concerned with my problems, though. My mind (or intellect) was so clouded with hurt. I was so attached to my past that I hardly benefited (so it seemed) from their friendship.
Finally, I let go. The summer after my freshman year I began searching for God. I was finally open enough to let go of my hurt. I was open enough to say, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” I began to grow and heal. I recognized that the entire year God was using friends to “till the soil of my heart” so I would be ready to receive His Word. What happened after that? My vision (spiritually, emotionally, mentally) became clearer. I recognized the ways God had been acting in my life without me knowing it. I was so attached to hurt and resentment, I couldn’t recognize the gift of life he preserved in me and grew in me!
Am I perfect today? No. Do I feel hurt? Yes. That answer is common to every honest human, in some form. If it wasn’t, you would be God, and you wouldn’t need to read, eat, breathe, sleep… all those human things we do.
So how is the honest Christian different from a normal healthy human whom we see at work or school? Here’s part of the answer, from my young and finite experience. In John 8:12 Jesus says, “I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” The encounter of and life with Jesus is not a matter of religious affiliation or devotion, but a matter of life and death, light and dark. If that’s dramatic to the Christian and Catholic readers, consider what it is you profess and confess to believe in and practice.
Detachment from the world does not mean ignore creation; it means we must participate in the reordering and the renewal of the fallen order of the created world. It means our experience of temptation is a sign of our tension between Heaven and Hell.
Okay, back to the topic. The Christian experience does more than make one holy- it makes one sane, it makes one whole. If God is God, we will live happier and more rational lives when we detach from what we know is wrong and order our lives to give thanks, when we order our lives to the Truth about ourselves and creation.
How can you detach? What does that even mean? What is it or who is it you need to detach yourself from? Is what you’re considering to detach yourself from a small thing? Perfect, it’s not a big deal! You might as well “start detaching now” since it’s not a big obstacle to God. Remove as many as you can. Is it a big thing, a big attachment? Well, now is a great time to start detaching since you recognize it.
If you have no idea what I am asking of you, consult the passages I pulled from. Ask a friend “what are my vices?” At the end of the “detaching,” you should be able to sing loudly, honestly, and thankfully this prayer:
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.