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Youth Apostles Online
Newsletter for Catholic Teens : November 2002

A Prayer of Thanksgiving, by St. Catherine of Siena


Dear Beautiful Young People of God,

If you've ever watched TV, which I know you have, you've been bombarded by commercials during your favorite shows. Various merchants try to convince you that you are aren't good looking enough, rich enough, fashionable enough, and that you basically don't have enough stuff. And if you buy their product, your problems will be fixed, and you will finally be happy. On the contrary, if you fall for their manipulative message, you end up feeling pretty depressed and unsatisfied. It can easily cause you to forget all the blessings you have in your life, and make you focus on what you don't have.

Have you ever felt like this? I know I have. And it's not just TV commercials that get me. It's the TV shows themselves, the ads in the newspaper, pictures and articles in magazines, billboards on the highway, and just about everything at the mall.

The only cure for my "Disatisfied-itis" is taking some time in prayer to thank God for what He's given me. I start small and then move on to big things. By the time I'm done, I feel humbled by His goodness, and the stuff I don't have seems dumb and unnecessary.

For example, my husband and I live in a small one-bedroom apartment. Some of my single friends, with whom I went to school, have gigantic condos about five times as big, brand new cars, nice new furniture, and lots of new clothes. If I focus on what I don't have compared to them, it makes me feel very dissatisfied. I end up forgetting all the good things God has done for me and I lose my joy. But when I look at Jesus, I realize how tender and specific His love was in giving us our current home. There are so many special, little "God details" that delight me about our place. I KNOW that He found this place for us, and it is all we need right now.

It's all about focus. There's always going to be someone more beautiful, richer, more successful, or more popular that you. Ultimately, those things don't really matter and they certainly won't make you truly happy. If we turn our focus from what we don't have to Jesus and what He's done for us, dissatisfaction can turn to joy.

I want to challenge you this Thanksgiving to take some time in prayer just to think about all the good things God has done in your life. Maybe even make a list, so the next time you feel dissatisfied or depressed, you can refer back to it. Thank Him for your faith, your family, your friends, the gifts He's given you, experiences you've had that have made you a better person, and simply for the desire you have to know Him more and become more like Him. Let your list inspire you to entrust more and more of your life to Him. Our Lord is a good and generous giver, who knows what will truly satisfy us more than we do ourselves.

I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving, full of gratitude for God's goodness.

Until next month, I remain...

Your Eucharist loving, Blessed Mother petitioning, rockin' Catholic Church obeying, Pope John Paul II devotee and fellow sinner in need of God's grace and mercy,

Michele TePas
Youth Apostles Online

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A Prayer of Thanksgiving

O tender Father,
You gave me more, much more
than I ever thought to ask for.
I realize that our human desires
can never really match
what You long to give us.
Thanks, and again thanks, O Father,
for having granted my petitions,
and that which I never realized
I needed or petitioned. Amen.

- St. Catherine of Siena

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