By Father Casey

“I am thankful for you.”

“I am proud of you.”

These are some of the most powerful words we can say or hear. Think about how you feel when someone say these words to you. Don’t they fill your heart and lift you up? Especially when you’re feeling a bit empty, or when the clouds of worry are blocking out all the light from your soul. If someone says, “I am proud of you,” or “I am thankful for you,” the clouds break and light shines in.

These words build confidence, restore dignity, and help a person feel loved, which is why I think of them as sacred words, for they evoke the godly goodness within us. They go alongside “I love you” and “I forgive you” as statements with the greatest power to transform a life. Sadly, we don’t say or hear them very often. Perhaps we feel self-conscious because they feel very personal. Perhaps we don’t want to embarrass ourselves or others or come across as patronizing.

But there are people all around us who are struggling to feel any self-worth, or who battle with a voice that constantly tells them they are a failure. There are people all around us who’ve never known the divine power of hearing someone say, “I am thankful for you,” or “I am proud of you.” So please, friends, be on the lookout for moments when we can say these holy words to someone.

This weekend we will celebrate Recognition Sunday in Roper Hall between services. As we do every year, we will pause at the end of the long program year to tell a whole bunch of people that we are thankful for and proud of them. I know these recognition events, like so many graduation ceremonies happening this month, can feel perfunctory. Just another formal event with a lot of polite clapping.

Which is why we try very hard to personalize it. We read names, tell stories, and even hand out unique gifts. We want every child chorister, every formation teacher, every wonderful volunteer, to know how thankful we are for their efforts, and how proud we are of them.

After all, they have offered dozens, or perhaps even hundreds of hours in service of our church. Some of them are on campus two or three times a week, doing jobs that go unnoticed. When it would be easy to let others do the work, or to assume other people will take care of it, these folks offer themselves.

So, I hope you’ll come on Sunday and help us say these extraordinarily powerful words:

“I am thankful for you.”

“I am proud of you.”

Father Casey

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