David Roberts, The Church of the Transfiguration, St. Catherine's Monastery, lithograph, 1839
The Seventh Station: Thanksgiving
You are God: we praise you; You are the Holy One: we acclaim you; You are the Eternal: All creation worships you. To You all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory. The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you.
(from the Te Deum laudamus)
Like the celebration prepared by the father's servants for the prodigal, like the Eucharistic feast of union with God and one another, like heavnely banquet at the end of the world, the completion of the rite of Repentance should reflect the ultimate Reconciliation - and is always a good excuse for a party. An Act of Thanksgiving should be joyful, playful, delightful, surprising. Do something wonderful.
But stay alert - gratefulness, like repentance, is a way of life. Brother David Steindl-Rast says, "It is not happiness that makes us grateful but it is gratefulness that makes us happy." Repentance and gratitude are wings in motion and in balance with one another, bearing us aloft in peace, happiness, fulfillment and continual growth in compassion and consciousness.
O God, you manifest in your servants the signs of your presence: Send forth upon us the Spirit of love, that in companionship with one another your abounding grace may increase among us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Story of the Lame Man at the Beautiful Gate
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o'clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms.
Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, "Look at us." And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, "I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk."
And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.