The Prayer of Thanksgiving

A Secret of Happiness
by Charles Reed -
(Editorial of Reflections, March 2001)

    "And one of them, when he saw that he was made clean, went back, with a loud voice glorifying God. And he fell on his face before his feet, giving thanks. And this was a Samaritan. And Jesus, answering, said: Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine? There is no one found to return and give glory to God, but this stranger." • Luke 17, 15

    IT is certain that God grants us many things by mere liberality, without our asking him, but it is also certain that he does not want to grant something, unless we ask him, and this for our own benefit, so that we may put our trust in him, and acknowledge him as the author of all our goods." (St. Thomas Aquinas)

    The prayer of petition is the most frequently used prayer, practiced by beginners and even by those who are more advanced. And it is not an inferior kind of prayer: it is good for us to make this kind of prayer, because it reminds us how much we depend upon God for everything, and that we cannot depend upon ourselves, for the really important events of our lives.

    But if a particular soul makes only the prayer of petition, his relationship with God is incomplete, and lacking. God wants to share with us his intimacy and his secrets, but to do this, certain conditions are required from us, rather easy ones. If our relationship with a particular human being consisted only in asking him favors, and nothing else, it could not be called a friendship, but merely a business transaction. Also among human beings it might be considered impolite to ask and receive many favors, and not to give thanks for them afterwards.

    But God is so good and patient with our slowness, that he will accept anything we give him, even if it is just a little. Even that little makes reparation for those souls who never think of God at all and who never ask him for anything, as if they were totally independent of him.

    The purpose of this editorial is to make us more conscious of one of the most important and one of the easiest forms of prayer, the prayer of thanksgiving. It is called a secret of happiness, because this kind of prayer makes us think less of ourselves and helps us concentrate on God's infinite goodness. If people are miserable, sometimes the cause is that they get so wrapped up in thinking about their own problems and miseries, that they do not think of much else. The prayer of thanksgiving takes us outside of ourselves, our worries, and makes us think of God and his infinite goodness and liberality, and all his other attributes. He is worthy of being loved and thanked, both because of what he is in himself, and because of the gifts and favors he gives us. Even if we do think of ourselves when we make this prayer (for example, in remembering some benefit God has given us and thanking him for it), it makes us focus on the positive side of our lives.

    It is a fact that God gives us gifts, both material and spiritual, almost continually, nearly seven days a week, 365 days a year. We may acknowledge this fact or ignore it. We may pay attention to it or not pay attention. We may believe it or not believe it. But whatever we do, the fact is a reality. Not paying attention to it makes our lives incomplete.

    Thanksgiving in the Lives of the Saints

    All the saints received graces from God, and they expressed their gratitude, both in their words and in actions. The best way we can honor the saints is by imitating them, and in this respect it is very easy to do so. Just think of a saint who gave thanks, and then do something similar in your own life. The best way of showing your appreciation of a person is to do something similar to what he or she did.

    Two saints who excelled in the prayer of thanksgiving were St. Francis of Assisi and St. Gertrude the Great. St. Francis was devoted to the mystery of the holy Trinity, and one of his favorite prayers was the "Glory be to the Father," which is basically a prayer of adoration and of thanksgiving. It is a short prayer, but can be repeated with so much frequency, and with always new meanings, because we just have to think of some benefit of God for ourselves or for humanity in general, and then give thanks with this expression of gratitude or any other. Sometimes St. Francis thought of all the unusual events God had worked through him, and then humbled himself and gave thanks and glory to God, recognizing that the Lord was the author of all these blessings.St. Gertrude the Great

    During St. Gertrude's lifetime, Our Lord revealed her sanctity to several holy souls. Once he addressed these words to a person bound to the saint by the bonds of a holy friendship:

    "She for whom thou prayest is my dove, who has no guile in her.... She is My rose whose fragrance is full of sweetness, because of her patience in every adversity and the thanksgiving which she continually offers Me, which ascend before Me as sweetest perfume."

    Sometimes St. Gertrude prayed the short psalm Laudate Dominum more than 200 consecutive times, in order to give thanks to God for the graces he gave to humanity, and in particular for the graces he gave to herself.

    When people are in love they never tire of saying "I love you," and even if it is repeated hundreds of times it always has new meanings. Thus the saints never tired of expressing their love and gratitude to God, even if they just kept on repeating the same words (but with always new meanings).

    Their logic was simple: since God is always giving us new blessings, unceasingly, it is only reasonable that we should always be giving him new thanks and blessings, unceasingly. Semper et ubique gratias agere, Always and everywhere to give thanks. (Canon of Mass)

    Some persons excelled in this practice, especially the Mother of God and certain saints.

    God understands and knows very well that we are just weak creatures, subject to many imperfections. He would never ask of us the impossible. He would not demand from us unceasing thanksgiving, or heroic acts. He would not expect us to give thanks 24 hours a day (although that is what happens in heaven), but he would be pleased with anything we offer him, even if we just did it once a week. And even giving thanks once a week (for example at Sunday mass), is something that would please him, when you consider how many persons (many millions) go through their entire lifetime existence, never thanking God once, for anything.

    The Power of Memory and Thanksgiving

    In order to make this prayer well, we have to use our faculty of memory, especially remembering some benefits of God toward ourselves and then expressing our gratitude in words and gestures. So many persons abuse their faculty of memory, filling it with things that are trivial, useless and even sinful. By making the prayer of thanksgiving well, we are sweetly obliged to use our memory in the best possible way. In order to really make this prayer well, you would have to think of your entire life, from the time you came into existence until now, remembering some of the major benefits that God gave you. And the sharper your memory, the better your acts of thanksgiving would be. Since God gives us an almost endless series of favors, we would have to remember a great deal, in order to make our thanksgiving complete.

    This life is a valley of tears, and we will obtain complete happiness only on the other side of the tomb. But if we make the prayer of thanksgiving frequently, we will obtain some relief in our troubles and sorrows. The sorrows of this life pass away: God's infinite goodness will remain forever.

    May it be for the glory of God

    The Vergel (Garden) of the Immaculate Virgin of Guadalupe

    February 5, 2001 • Feast of St. Agatha


    The Virtue of Gratitude as Practiced by the Mother of God

    We print here a quotation from the Mystical City of God by Mary of Agreda, in regard to how the Virgin Mary practiced the virtue of gratitude.

    Chapter XIII. The Most holy Mary commemorates other blessing with her angels, especially her Presentation and the feast days of saint Joachim, saint Anne and Saint Joseph.

    Gratitude for the benefits received at the hands of the Lord is a virtue so noble, that by means of it we may preserve our intercourse and correspondence with God himself: He, as rich, generous and powerful conferring upon us his gifts; we, as poor, humble and aware of our needs, returning for them our thanks. It is natural that he who gives liberally and generously should be content with the thanks of him who, as the needy one, is receiving the benefit; and this thankfulness is a short, easy and delightful return, which satisfies the liberal giver and induces him to continue his liberality. If this ordinarily happens among men of generous and magnanimous heart, how much more in the dealings of God with men; for we are misery and poverty itself, while He is rich, most liberal, and if we could imagine any constraint in him, it would be that of receiving and not that of giving. As this great Lord is so wise, just and equitous, He will never reject us on account of our poverty, but only on account of our ingratitude. He desires to give us plentifully; but at the same time He wishes us to be grateful, rendering Him the glory, honor and praise contained in gratitude. Such a return for small benefits, obliges him to confer other greater ones; if we are grateful for all, he multiplies them. However it is only the humble that secure them, since they are at the same time thankful.

    The great Teacher of this science was the most blessed Mary; for, though She alone had received the plenitude of highest blessings possible to be communicated to a mere creature by the Almighty, She forgot none of them, nor ever ceased to acknowledge them by the most perfect thankfulness within the powers of a creature. For each one of the gifts of nature or grace, none of which She failed to recognize and acknowledge, she composed special songs of praise and thanksgiving and instituted admirable exercises in special commemoration and acknowledgment.

    Instruction which the Queen of the Angels,
    most blessed Mary, gave me.

    My daughter, the sin of ingratitude is one of the most heinous committed by men against God and by it they make themselves most unworthy and abominable in the sight of God and the saints. For both God and the saints have a kind of horror of this vile conduct in men. Yet in spite of its pernicious effects, there is none which men, each one in particular, commit more frequently and thoughtlessly. It is true that in order to lessen the debt accumulating by their most ungrateful and universal forgetfulness of his benefits, God requires from his Church a certain recompense for this want of thankfulness in her children and in mankind. For in recognition of his blessings, the Church as such offers up so many prayers and sacrifices of praise and glory as we see ordained in her. But as the favors and graces of his liberal and watchful Providence are not only for the common good of the faithful, but to the advantage of each mortal in particular, the debt of gratitude is not paid by this general thanksgiving of the Church; each one for himself owes thanks for what he receives from the divine liberality.

    How many are there among the mortals, who during the whole course of their lives have not excited one sincere act of thanksgiving for the gift of life, for its preservation, for health, food, honors, possessions and all the other temporal and natural goods! Others there are, who, if at any time they give thanks for these benefits, do it not because they truly love God, the Giver, but because they love themselves and delight in these temporal and earthly blessings and in the possession of them. This kind of vain deceit discovers itself in two ways: first, in seeking these earthly and transitory goods, men are full of dissatisfaction, haste and discomfort, and they scarcely can think of, ask for, or desire other more spiritual things, loving only what is apparent and passing. Although many times their being deprived of health, honor, possessions and other things is a blessing of God, which prevents in them a blind and disorderly attachment to such matters; yet they think it a misfortune and, as it were, an injury, and they allow their heart continually to verge on destruction by trespassing upon what is finite and perishable.

    Secondly, this deceit is known by the forgetfulness of spiritual benefits in the blind pursuit of what is transitory, so that men neither recognize or acknowledge what is beyond. This fault among the children of the Church is most vile and dreadful, since, without any obligation on the part of God and without any of their merit, the divine mercy seeks to draw them to the secure path of eternal life, signally applying to them the merits of the passion and death of my divine Son. Every one who is now in a state of holiness in the Church, could have been born in other times and ages, before God came into the world; moreover he could have been born among pagans, idolaters, heretics or other infidels, where his eternal damnation would be unavoidable. Without their merit God called such persons to his holy faith, giving them knowledge of the certain truth; justifying them in Baptism, putting at their disposal the sacraments, the ministers, the teachings and enlightenments of eternal life. He placed them upon the sure path, granted them his assistance, pardoned them their sins, raised them from their falls, waited for their repentance, invited them by his mercy, and rewarded them with a liberal hand. He defended them through his holy angels, gave them Himself as a pledge and as a nourishment of eternal life; and thus He accumulated so many blessings upon them, that they are without measure or number, and that not a day nor an hour passes without increasing their indebtedness.

    Tell me then, daughter, what thanks are due to his so liberal and fatherly kindness? And how many men deserve to experience it? The greatest blessing of all is that in punishment for this ingratitude the portals of his mercy have not been closed, and the fountains of his goodness have not dried up; for it is infinite. The root of this most dreadful ingratitude in men is the boundless desire and covetousness for the temporal, apparent and transitory goods. From this insatiable thirst grows their unthankfulness; for as they hanker so much after the temporal goods, they undervalue what they receive, and give thanks neither for them nor for the spiritual goods; and thus they are most ungrateful as well for the ones as for the others. In addition to this unbearable foolishness they are guilty of a still greater one, namely, they ask God not for what is necessary to them, but for things which are injurious and will bring about their eternal perdition.

    If, in addition to this, such men never thank God for having created them, redeemed them, called them, borne them with patience and justified them, prepared for them the same glory which He enjoys; and if, while expecting this glory, they do not even ask for the grace of acknowledging and repenting of their sins, they certainly show nothing but the utmost temerity and presumption. I assure thee, my dearest, that this so frequent ingratitude toward God is one of the most certain signs of reprobation in those who are guilty of such forgetfulness and carelessness. It is also a bad sign, when the just Judge confers temporal blessings upon those who ask for them, in forgetfulness of the blessings of the Redemption and Justification; for all such, oblivious of the means of their eternal salvation, demand but the instruments of their death, and to yield to their demands is no blessing, but a chastisement of their blindness.

    All these evils I manifest to thee in order that thou mayest fear them and avoid their causes. But remember that thy gratitude must not be of the ordinary or common kind; for the blessings thou hast received go far beyond thy knowledge and power of appreciation. Do not allow thyself to be deceived into shrinking from proper acknowledgment of graces on the plea of humility.... Thy love will not be stirred to action readily, without being incited by the blessings and favors of God. Thou art full of fear of losing the grace and friendship of the Lord, and with good reason dost thou fear, if thou dost not make them fruitful. Thy fear must exert itself in watching over thy treasure and in striving to imitate me with the purity of an angel, and practicing all the teachings which I give thee in this history for this very purpose.

    Prayers of Thanksgiving

    The Magnificat

    My souls magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior; because He has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid; for, behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed, because he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is from generation to generation, on those who fear him.

    He has shown might with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and has exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of his mercy; even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.

    Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

    The Laudate (Psalm 116)

    Praise the Lord, all ye nations; praise him, all ye people. For his mercy is confirmed upon us: and the truth of the Lord remaineth for ever. Glory be to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

    Psalm 102

    Bless the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless his holy name.

    Bless the Lord, O my soul: and never forget all he hath done for thee.

    Who forgiveth all thy iniquities: who healeth all thy diseases.

    Who redeemeth thy life from destruction: who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion.

    Who satisfieth thy desire with good things: thy youth shall be renewed like the eagle's.

    ( First 5 verses of Psalm 102, often used by St. Gertrude as an act of thanksgiving).

  = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =


A Treasury of Atonement, by Charles Reed
The Lord shall open unto thee his good treasure.-- Deuteronomy 28:12 - Who has known the mind of the Lord? – Rom. 11:34
CHRIST Our Lord said: “Therefore every scribe who is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, is like unto a man that is a householder, who bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old.” This is a short collection of quotations from the vast treasure house of the church, about suffering,reparation, atonement,  and the cross. No matter how much you have read, you can always find something new. Christ said that he would make all things new, (Apoc. 21:5) that he would establish a new covenant, and put new wine into new bottles. We have now arrived at the newest, the most recent, the last, and perhaps the best, period of human history. “Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.” (Read More Here) -




Writings of Charles Reed -

Essays in Reflections
Essays not in Reflections
Novel. Mount Zion Revisited.

Note about Mount Zion Revisited

The character named Little Bear in ch. 13, is based on three persons, in order to condense much informtion into a small space. The face of one of them bore no resemblance to the face of a bear. (He is now deceased, probably in Paradise with his mother). The other two, still living, have the face of a teddy bear. This is not an exaggeration.

Mt. Zion is a narration of a shipwreck that was not total. Just as Robinson Crusoe and Man Friday came of their shipwreck alive and kicking, so these precious little souls came out of the crucible of sorrow, shining like gold (Job 19), and at least two of them are now praising God forever, in the heavenly Zion.

And the redeemed of the Lord will come into Zion with praise.
Sorrow and mourning will flee away,
And everlasting joy shall be upon their heads.

Isaiah 35

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Similarity with other novels.

Brideshead Revisited, by E. Waugh.  The effects of grace, on a group of characters.

Robinson Crusoe, by Defoe.  What to do when a shipwreck happens, and everything disintegrates, falls apart, and you are faced with a chaotic situation.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Español: La Oración de Acción de Gracias. Un Secreto de la Felicidad

Works by Charles Reed  • A Mystic For Our Times, by Charles Reed • History Will Repeat Itself, by C.R.

Back to main page - . . . . . . . . • Revelations of St. Gertrude -

Is Victimhood Necessary For Salvation? • The World Ends Every Day. 80,000 persons die every day. They need your help!

= = = == = = = = = = = = = = =

Laus Deo

= = =

Notice: Charles Reed is the pseudonym of John Henderson Stansberry, a former religious brother in the congregation of the Franciscan Minims in Mexico City. In the year 1978, (one year before the death of Maria Concepcion), a tragic incident happened in the congregation. Many years later John still felt guilty about it, and determined to write a report. Eventually the document turned into a short book, named "Mount Zion Revisited." The pseudonym Charles was used to protect the good reputation of all the persons involved.  Writings of Charles Reed also include translations and short anthologies that he made, and editorials of the magazine "Reflections from the Franciscan Minims" published in English in Mexico City from 1990 to 2005. The magazine had a circulation of about 300, in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and Africa.
"Mount Zion Revisited" was written as a roman a clef (novel with a key), in order to make known controversial topics, and to report inside information about scandal and abuse of power, without harming the good reputation of those involved, living and deceased.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =