New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan told a Catholic audience at the United States Naval Academy that he apprehends “the lack of gratitude that simmers in our culture of law” and that it is urgent for us to “Rediscover a feeling of gratitude”.
If we don’t, “we’ll end up concluding that life is not so joyful, meaningful and sacred. We won’t believe the world is, to borrow an Ernest Hemingway phrase, “a beautiful place worth fighting for,” he said.
“Gratitude allows us to keep close to what we have received, how unique human life is because of people and selfless acts of the past… moms and dads, grandparents and family, churches, teachers and coaches, friends and neighbors… and, the Lord, ”he said in an evening address on October 26 to aspiring Catholics and other members of the academy’s Catholic community .
“Recognizing what others have provided us with is inspiring a way of life, where altruism comes before selfishness, where others past and present, including the Other, Almighty God, have a hidden claim to our allegiance, ”he said,“ where we act in the hope that the next generation will remember us with the same whispered appreciation that we encourage for those… who have walked before us.
The Archdiocese of New York provided a text of the cardinal’s remarks to the Catholic News Service.
Cardinal Dolan spoke of gratitude and the Catholic faith, noting that the Greek word “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving”.
“People centered on the Eucharist will always be grateful,” he said. “Every Sunday finds them, head down, whispering prayers, on their knees on the first day of the week, praising their merciful God for his countless gifts.
“We confess that we are sorry to take them for granted and not live as grateful sons and daughters; we confidently present our needs to an ever-listening Father; we entrust to him the intentions of our families, of our friends, of our colleagues, women and men of service, of our country, of our church, of the sick and of the poor.
He noted that the Catholic community of the academy has started a year of the Eucharist, in response to an invitation from the American bishops for all Catholics “to renew our faith, our love and our hunger for the bread of life, the real presence ”at Mass and Communion.
“At each Eucharist, we unite ourselves to the sacrifice of his Son on the cross to thank his Father for the salvation that has been offered to us,” he declared. “We are never more grateful than when we are gathered at the Sunday Eucharist. And we leave more grateful than ever to have received the gift of Christ himself in Holy Communion.
Cardinal Dolan asked his listeners if his hunch was correct that “do men and women in uniform have an innate and innate sense of gratitude?”
“Am I on to something when I propose that the words of Jesus:” No one has more love than this than to lay down his life for another “, as he himself did on the cross, renewed at each Eucharist, are part of the DNA of one whose career is summed up in one word, “service”? he added.
He said Christianity “is full of words that mean ‘thank you’. “
“We are urged to love one another, to be faithful people to God, to forgive those who offend us, to cherish and watch over those who need us, who are vulnerable, who need help. be defended, ”he explained. “All of these noble inspirations are intertwined with gratitude, for our families and our country, for a God who sacrificed the life of his only begotten Son so that we could live forever. “
Gratitude “is a traditional value,” he said, that “allows us to appreciate how things are, what has already been given and how blessed life is because of people and the kindness that we only inherited, not won.
Ingratitude “will eliminate the values essential to a civilized society, values such as duty, honor, bravery, integrity, service and sacrifice,” he said.
Civilization, “a culture of love and life” and our country need gratitude. “The ability to say thank you is a sublime gift,” he added.
Cardinal Dolan opened his speech by expressing his gratitude for being invited to the Naval Academy to deliver what was Cardinal John O’Connor’s lecture, and he recalled his own ties to the Navy – via his father Robert Matthew Dolan, who he said was “humble” about his service.
“He proudly served his country in the United States Navy in the Pacific in 1943-1946, on the USS Cleveland, participating in combat in war zones with names such as Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Manila and Tokyo” , said the cardinal.
The prelate also paid tribute to Cardinal O’Connor, his predecessor as Archbishop of New York and a clergyman who served God and the country as Navy and Navy chaplain. He led the Archdiocese of New York from 1984 until his death in 2000. He was made cardinal in 1985.
“He of course cherished his identity as a disciple of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, a faithful Catholic, a priest, a bishop,” he said, “but the title he most cherished was not was not “His Eminence,” but “Chaplain” and “Admiral,” and the years of service he most relished were as chaplain here at the Naval Academy. “
Before rising through the ranks of the hierarchy, Cardinal O’Connor rose through the ranks of the Navy, becoming Rear Admiral and Chief of Naval Chaplains, a post he held from 1975 to 1979, when he served. was appointed auxiliary bishop. for what is now the American Archdiocese for military services.
He was later appointed Bishop of Scranton, Pennsylvania, and then appointed to New York.
Ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, his home diocese, Father O’Connor first joined the US Navy Chaplain Corps in 1952 during the Korean War.
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