I was away last week on a trip to Oklahoma City and Dallas to visit our ACE Teachers. I enjoy seeing our dedicated teachers and their students, but I always miss being at home in Ryan. It is good to be back and with all of you to enjoy the changing colors of Fall. This is a beautiful time of the year.
I have been thinking about gratitude and the importance of thanking the the people in our lives who have made an impact for us. Let us consider of some of these people and events.
We have received the gift of life from our parents. They have been our first teachers and hopefully our best teachers in how to live. We also know how our grandparents and families have been helpful in our life journeys. Think about the times when we could turn to them when we needed to know we were loved. Can you remember times when you were sick or afraid and that it was your parents that you wanted to be near you? This even happens when you are at Notre Dame. Thank your parents for the love they have given you.
How often do you thank your brothers and sisters for the ways they have helped in your life journey? These are the people who may have protected you, given advice and helped you to discover what is important in life. Think of the many things you have done with your siblings and thank them for what they have done for you.
You Have had friends on your journey through life. A friend is a gift that helps you know that you do not walk alone. You have may think of friends from a young age and friends that you made at Notre Dame. My best friend was a classmate who was present in every important moment in my life. He came to my ordination, the funerals of my mother and father. He was a person I spoke with two times a week for over 40 years. He was the brother I never had. He asked me as he was dying to preside and preach at his funeral. Do you tell your friends that you love them?
All of you are students at Notre Dame. There are teachers that have inspired you to love Math, Science, English or History and that is the path you are following here. You learned at some time in school that with hard work you could get an education that enables you to make a difference in the world. Most people never tell a teacher that he or she inspired you and you are thankful for them. It would make a former teacher feel good if you were to write them a note thanking them for inspiring you.
Jesus did many miracles of healing and always appreciated being thanked. Try thanking someone and it will make that person feel good as well as yourself. Know that you are in my prayers.