Type “gratitude” on your Google search engine, and you will find all sorts of information on how gratitude can increase your happiness. The number of self-help books on the topic would probably take a few lifetimes to read. From scientific research on the brain to psychological and social studies to religious and anti-religious experts … everyone seems to agree that gratitude is a good thing and that we need to learn how to practice it.
St. Cecilia is the patroness of musicians, poets, and singers. Some of you may have heard of, or even visited, St. Cecilia church in Boston. It is truly beautiful, located near the Berkeley School of Music and, not surprisingly, blessed with incredible musicians and singers.
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This time of year, people in various places celebrate in gratitude for the blessing of a bountiful harvest. As the U.S. celebrates Thanksgiving, I can’t help but cherish childhood memories of Thanksgiving gatherings long past. When I was growing up, our extended family would gather for a grand meal and engaging conversation. The younger ones would be seated at a separate table at these celebrations. I suspect the table arrangement accommodated seating capacity at the adult table and was sensitive to young people’s interests. It was great fun. I was one of the youngest and delighted to be in the company of my older cousins.
Today we celebrate the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is the presentation to God of Mary when she was a baby by her parents who tradition teaches us were Joachim and Ann. This presentation of Mary that we celebrate today is different from the Presentation of Jesus in the temple by Mary and Joseph.
Today we celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “This feast commemorates the dedication of the church of St. Mary, built in Jerusalem near the site of the Temple. Additionally, with Christians of the East, the Latin Church also remembers on this day the tradition according to which Mary as a small child, was presented to the Lord by her parents in the Temple” (The Liturgy of the Hours, Volume IV, p. 1572).
A source revealed that 80% of what we do depends on our eyes. Eighty percent is indeed a big chunk of activities, while totally blind people have an output of only 20% with regard to work. For the blind, this means goodbye to outdoor sports, goodbye to job opportunities because they have a limited number of them, goodbye to cross stitching, goodbye to movies and sightseeing, goodbye to window shopping and star gazing, goodbye to visual art and beautiful fall foliage. Yet, amidst these limitations, there lies a remarkable resilience.