Sorry, and Thanks

Friday, Jul. 05, 2024
By Marie Mischel
Intermountain Catholic

Dear God,

I owe you an apology as well as a belated thank you.

Now, I’m well aware that the Catholic Church teaches that I, like all humans, am nothing more than a foul-smelling worm, to use Saint Teresa of Avila’s phrase; on the other hand, that same wonderful holy woman also said to God, “Your delight is to be with the children of the earth,” a sentiment that Scripture affirms in numerous places, even if less prosaically. (“As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” and “Behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age,” are two verses that come to mind.)

I also know that I’m supposed to give you thanks for everything; to “rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances.”

However, knowing this and putting it into practice are two different things. I really am trying to be more grateful, but a lifetime of skepticism and a career dedicated to being critical of what I’m told and what I read makes it difficult, as is reflected in the most recent incident that brings this matter to my attention.

A couple of weeks ago in this column I described my experience at the events that Utah parishes held in conjunction with the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage, which came through the Diocese of Salt Lake City May 31 through June 5. I mentioned that, despite attending six Masses, participating in four Eucharistic processions as well as several Adorations of the Blessed Sacrament, I had no memorable spiritual moment until the very last moment, just before the pilgrimage departed.

Now, I did give thanks for that moment, but until then I was fighting dejection because so many of the people I talked to described having wonderful spiritual experiences as they participated in the pilgrimage. And as much as I try not to compare my spiritual encounter with theirs, I confess that many of them seemed to have a much more meaningful meeting with you than I did.

Here’s where the apology comes in. Yesterday I received a note from a reader who said she thought I was being extremely hard on myself because during the pilgrimage I had a job to do, which was to report on and photograph those events. The reader asked how I could expect to have a memorial spiritual moment while I was focused on doing my job, and pointed out that through my work I was serving others.

Now, Saint Paul counsels us to “work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward,” but sometimes it seems that the work that I do – even when I do the best I can – isn’t worthy to be brought forward to your altar, God. Yes, I know all about the widow’s mite, but I tend to focus on the “I am not worthy,” rather than the fact that you need only say a word and I shall be healed.

Here, too, the note from the reader reminded me of what the Church teaches; she pointed out that you, God, are not to be outdone in generosity, as Saint Ignatius of Loyola said. Or, to go to an even higher authority, I could recall the words of your Son: “Give and gifts will be given you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

So, here is my apology, that during all those days of work I doubted that you would return gifts for all that was given. And here are my thanks, not only for the grace you gave, but also for the reader, who reminded me that you will always provide in abundance, even when I’m too blind to see.

I’m sorry, and thank you. Amen.

Marie Mischel is editor of the Intermountain Catholic. Reach her at

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