In Gratitude

By Father Luke Hassler

Editor’s note: This essay was originally published in the May 24 issue of The Message, as then-Deacon Hassler began his priestly service.

I have often found that when I get discouraged or down about certain things going
on in my life, I forget about the virtue of gratitude. Certainly, in today’s world
there are many things to be disheartened about — and some of those things, rightly so. However, I would be willing to bet that there are many more things to be grateful for if we know where to look. There’s a funny video floating around YouTube that tries to depict the importance of gratitude in one’s life. The video starts out with a man waking up in the morning to start his morning routine, but rather than being covered in a blanket, he is covered in wrapping paper, signifying the gift of being able to simply wake up in the morning. When the man goes to the bathroom to brush his teeth, he finds a bow wrapped around the faucet and his tooth brush. You can imagine how the rest of the video pans out with him finding small bows stuck to different things that he uses every day in his home.

Father Luke Hassler

As some of you know, a number of weeks ago I had the opportunity to serve as a deacon during the diocesan Chrism Mass at Holy Redeemer Parish during Holy Week. Before Mass had begun, I can remember being stressed about making sure that I got all of my parts right so that everything would run smoothly. After we processed in and stood at our seats, I quickly scanned the crowd as I usually do to see if I could spot any of my family members. In this particular instance, as I looked out, I saw many different people. It was almost as if God had stuck a giant bow on this moment. When I looked out, I saw members of my home parish, St. Philip, who really encouraged me to “go for it” when I was on the fence about whether I should enter seminary. I saw people from St. Joseph in Jasper, where I had my first real ministry experience in a parish; from Holy Family in Jasper, where I was assigned (during the school year) during my time at St. Meinrad; and from Holy Rosary, where I served my summer as a transitional deacon. I also saw many others who made the effort to reach out to me through cards, letters, phone calls, or simply walking up to me to introduce themselves.

In seeing all of these people, I was a little overwhelmed — not with anxiety, but with gratitude. I am grateful to God for calling me not just to the vocation of priesthood, but also to live it out in the Diocese of Evansville. I am grateful to all of the people whom I have had the opportunity to serve thus far and have helped me to become the person I am today.

This gratitude gives me joy and anticipation for the days that lie ahead. I am excited about the different opportunities that I will have to be able to bring Christ to others — not just in my presence, but in the sacraments as well. I am also excited about showing others the beauty that the faith has to offer in spreading the Good News of Christ. I am looking forward to serving in a diocese that is filled with many hardworking and dedicated people who are striving to know and love God through His church. While I realize that there are imperfections within the Church, I am excited to get started in my ministry and to give back some of the many blessings that this community of faith has so graciously given to me.