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Prayer of Thanksgiving

O God, How magnificent are your works! In wisdom you have made them all.

They are yours, you have made them all..

Thanks be to you!

But you have made us over all them.

Thanks be to you!

For we are your image and likeness.

Thanks be to you!

We have sinned, we have been sought.

Thanks be to you!

We have been negligent, we have not been neglected.

Thanks be to you!

When we despised you, we were not despised; in case we should have forgotten your divinity and should lose you, you. even took upon yourself our humanity.

Thanks be to you!

This prayer can be found in sermon 16A, 6 of Saint Augustine. It opens with a quote from Psalm 104:24, “How magnificent are your works!” It reflects on the power and mercy of God, a power and mercy that transcends all human weakness. Although we have sinned, God has sought us anyway. Though we have been negligent, God has never neglected us. We have at times despised God, but God has never despised us. It is often easy to underestimate the scope of God’s love and mercy for us, especially when we reflect on our failures of the past, and the weaknesses we still struggle with in the present. How can God continue to love us when we continue to let Him down?

In the Confessions, Saint Augustine repeatedly reflects on how in the years leading up to his conversion, he was continually running away from God. Yet God never left him.

“Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you. And see, you were within and I was in the external world and sought you there, and in my unlovely state I plunged into those lovely created things which you made. You were with me, and I was not with you. The lovely things kept me far from you, though if they did not have their existence in you, they had no existence at all. You called and cried out loud and shattered my deafness. You were radiant and resplendent, you put to flight my blindness. You were fragrant, and I drew in my breath and now pant after you. I tasted you, and I feel but hunger and thirst for you. You touched me, and I am set on fire to attain the peace which is yours.” (Confessions Book X)

Reflection written by Jeremy Hiers, O.S.A.

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