October 31st -Thank God for candy and neighbors who actually talk to one another.
November 11 – Thank God for our Veterans who served our country.
The final Thursday in November – Thank God for everything…
As I was walking into our parish church ‘Holy Apostles’ in Cranston R.I. for the 8:30 a.m. mass with Kristin, I happened to notice the church secretary coming in for work to take care of parish business. As any good secretary would do, she stopped to get the mail from the mail box by the church door. Both Kristin and I looked with surprise as she was doing this. It was your stereotypical suburban mailbox and somehow we had never noticed it before in spite of the fact that we often walked right by it to get into the church. And it was not hidden by bushes or anything else.
How often do we walk by the simple things in our lives that are standing right in front of us. Ordinary everyday things that make our lives worth living but we take for granted and forget to be grateful for. For example if your reading this blog post or listening to it, you must have the ability to read or listen as well as access to a computer, phone or another form of technology in order to do so.
You can be grateful and thankful that you
- Have Eyes that see.
- Ears that Hear.
- A Brain that comprehends.
- Money that can afford a device to read this on.
- A job or benefits that give you the money to do so.
I’m thankful that you’re actually reading this and have made it this far. I’m thankful for the opportunity to use my talents for writing and the opportunity I have here at Patheos to contribute something to the world of social media. I’m thankful for my wife that came up to my computer room to help me compose this when she would have rather have gone to the kitchen to eat something. I’m also thankful that I was able to come up with a new topic to write about for Thanksgiving. It’s tough to think of brand new original material to come up with every year at this time.
The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, 1914,
Pilgrim Hall Museum, Plymouth, Massachusetts
It’s important to avoid being ungrateful. Some of the ideas I came up with for this short reflection came from Fr. Mike Schmitz who has several videos on the topic of thanksgiving. Here is the particular video that i’m referencing. Fr. Mike goes into greater depth of some of the things I’m talking about. I shared it in the Catholic men’s group in our parish called the Men of St. Joseph.
I’m grateful that Fr. Mike became a priest and has been gifted with the talents to use video and to preach. I’m grateful that I was able to hear his words and reflect upon them and use them to deepen God’s voice within my heart. He has many more videos on gratitude that are worth listening to.
If we remember the words of St. Therese of Lisieux ‘All is Grace’, it’s easier to remember to be grateful. There is not one person alive who is great and wonderful and talented all on their own. Any skills are gracefully given to a person by God to use for the benefit of others in some way shape or form. Gratitude helps shape humility in the soul. Humility is fertile soil for God to pour his grace into the soul. The grace to love our neighbors. The grace to receive joy, peace and happiness. The grace to laugh which comes from the gratitude of comedy.
Here is some laughter to brighten your holiday.
There is the gratitude that comes from education and learning about how wonderful gratitude is. So here is an inspirational quote to go with your holiday.
According to the research, gratitude’s psychological benefits are legion: It can lift depression, help you sleep, improve your diet, and make you more likely to exercise. Heart patients recover more quickly when they keep a gratitude journal. A recent study showed gratitude causes people to be more generous and kinder to strangers. Another study summarized in Scientific American finds that gratitude is the single best predictor of well-being and good relationships, beating out twenty-four other impressive traits such as hope, love, and creativity. As the Benedictine monk David Steindl-Rast says, “Happiness does not lead to gratitude. Gratitude leads to happiness.”
– A. J. Jacobs, Thanks A Thousand: A Gratitude Journey (TED Books) (2018) Simon & Schuster/ TED.
There is also the gratitude one gets from learning about what has come before us so that we know where we have come from and where we are going. So here is some history to stick with you on your holiday.
There is the gratitude that one gets when one gets to perform a work of mercy for others, cause then you are directly doing something to Christ. So here is an encouraging exhortation to go with your holiday. You get to pay back Christ for his generosity to you by being directly generous to others. So here is some encouraging thoughts for your holiday on this topic. If you have to work on Thanksgiving at a gas station, police officer, nursing home your serving others who may need it. In the case off a nursing home remember your helping to serve those who may not be able to leave the place in which they live. You can help to create an ambiance of hospitality for them. You can create an environment that feels like home – a place where everyone is valued and cared for.
There is the gratitude that one gets from being with loved ones so as you gather around the dinner table and pass the potatoes take pause. Take in the moment and stay present as you create wonderful and lasting memories together.
There is the gratitude that one gets from knowing and loving God and knowing that you are loved by God. I have less then 10 minutes to make it to 9:00 AM mass five minutes down the road. I wonder if Kristin is ready yet? So I only have time for this one last thing to say.
There is gratitude that one gets for being remembered and acknowledge that one is alive. So here is the greeting for your holiday.
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone.
And Now lets be thankful for the Gobble Gobble Turkey Wobble