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Friday, October 26, 2007

More on Gratitude

I fell in love with Scotland when I visited there about twenty-three years ago. I was on the way to Rome after having given a paper at the International Patristic conference that was held in Oxford that year, but I had a British Rail Pass that allowed me to take a train to Aberdeen and visit two dear friends there. Then I did stop to see more friends before returning to London where, because of a transportation strike in Belgium, I had extra days for which I am still grateful. These Scottish mountains in the picture make me grateful for my Scotch-Irish ancestors; the children in Scotland are beautiful and I remember the spirit of joy that all seem to have had; I also remember drinking about 17 cups of tea my first day in Scotland! They bring you tea early in the morning on the train; then I had more at the station waiting to be picked up as the train arrived early; then at the convent, tea for breakfast and tea at every place we visited as they took me to meet their pastor, different friends, etc. We had high tea in a village on the way to meet still another priest. He, of course, said, "Will you have a cup of tea?" I would have refused but by then knew that it is the custom to drink tea when visiting and the host would be offended if one did not. I have often thought of how Jesus is always offering us spiritual "tea" and it is not polite to refuse. This is a strange reflection but I really want to express my gratitude to Scotland, to the many gifts I have received from having friends there, and thank God for the daily gifts he offers me.

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