An electrician did a small job, one afternoon, for a popular local restaurant. He met many of the employees and management, and he was very impressed by how friendly everyone was.
He and his wife had never been there before, so the following week, they went to the restaurant for dinner. And, during dinner, the man kept mentioning to his wife how nice everyone was when he did the job there and that they almost made him feel like he was part of the crew.
They had a wonderful dinner, and finished off a bottle of fine wine. When the check came, the man was amazed at how little the bill was, and noticed that the waiter had written "50% Off" on the check and deducted that amount. He showed this to his wife. He mentioned just how incredibly nice everyone was at this restaurant. And even though he only worked there for just one afternoon, they gave him this great discount.
He paid the check and thanked the waiter for the generosity of the restaurant and staff. On the way out, the man stepped into the kitchen to personally thank the chef, and shook hands with everyone on the crew (about a dozen employees), expressing his appreciation for the great dinner and discount. He also left a note for the owner, thanking him, and offering him 50% off his next electrical maintenance job.
On his way out the door, he thanked the maitre d' for the generous discount.
The maitre d' then explained to him that not only did the man and his wife get the discount, but everyone else in the place did also.
He said, Sir, tonight, and every Tuesday, is 'Half-Price Night.' But I have to tell you that you are the only customer in the history of this restaurant to thank the entire kitchen crew and the owner for having it…. Please come back again!
I believe that one of the attributes of a grace-filled life is a spirit of gratitude. What a wondrous and glorious blessing!
The Gospel, today, demonstrates that with a true spirit of gratitude comes the spirit of generosity. The Magnificat teaches gratitude; the Visitation teaches generosity.
The Blessed Virgin, full of grace…becomes a light to the world…to us…that learning of her cousin’s condition…an older woman in her sixth month of pregnancy…that she would go to Elizabeth…to be with her…to share with her the last months of her expectancy. But, could we expect anything less from the one who is Full of Grace?
To be full of grace…to truly know the generosity of God…to be truly grateful…Mary, herself, is generous and exhibits the great virtue of love in charity to another.
We come to this Holy Place…we lay before the Throne of God all that we are…all that we need…all that we can be. We approach the Holy Table in our desire to grow into our better selves within the Kingdom of God…to be Full of Grace.
At the moment of Communion with the Lord, we become abundantly filled with the Divine Spirit…Full of Grace. And, in that moment of being selflessly giving of one’s self in a spiritual reciprocity between creator and created…redeemer and redeemed…experiencing the gracious generosity of God…in all love, charity must follow.
In these days following the great Celebration of Pentecost, I reflect on this myself: Am I growing in the Spirit? Am I really? Do I reflect back the light of Christ in a grace-filled gratitude? Does this grace-filled gratitude reflect back as generosity of spirit? Is that spirit demonstrated by a behavior of charity, in the spirit of love of God and neighbor?
Mary, Mother of God: be my model in this spirit of gratitude and generosity…that I may grow in grace and service. Amen.