I’m not putting a picture here of a messy world or people screaming at each other or declaring that justice is impossible or committing injustices because they’re easy to find. If you want that sort of stuff, just go to the first web page of what used to be your local news paper. The world is full of people, and all of them are broken, and all who came before were too. The world is screaming from the wounds caused by prior generations and present ones, and desperate for something better than living with constant rage and pain. Why when the world is such a mess –and it is, and there is so much suffering, and there is, and so much fear and doubt and wrong and hurt and anger and evil in every day, should we be thankful?
Because we know something impossibly wonderful, that gives us hope that through cooperation with God’s grace, we can help bind some of the wounds we’ve caused, and even some that we haven’t. We know the shocking reality of why we are. It is why we give thanks.
We give thanks because…
God loves us.
I know that’s somehow not the answer anyone was expecting, but it’s the great reality, the shocking truth. God who is love, who is infinite, is infinitely in love with each of us.
Not in spite of our faults or because of them or to woo us to abandon them. God loves us because God loves us.
Not because of what we’ve done or not done.
Not because of all our prayers or masses or novenas or holy hours.
Not because of how many people we help or do not.
God loves us not based on a quota of any kind.
God loves us and loved us into being without our having done anything to merit being.
God loves us and thus we go on being, even after death, because God never for a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a milliscond’s millisecond, ceased loving us or willing our being.
God loves us despite our fears, beyond our faults, and forever.
We cannot merit God’s love, for who can merit the infinite love of God.
We can only rejoice in the reality, and strive to ever more imitate it by how we treat others, and know that when we screw up –because we will, God still loved us even in our deepest moment of failure, far beyond all we did or did not do, and all we thought or thoughtlessly did not consider.
God loves us.
We do not spend much time contemplating this reality –we say it. We say it as children with an understanding we forget as we age. God loves us.
When we receive an infant, we love them. We will hold them, rock them, cherish and kiss them. serve them with everything and we almost feel we will die with love at the mere sight of them. They’ve done nothing but be to merit this depth of feeling and yet it is, and it is nothing compared to how much we will go on loving them, and again, nothing compared to God’s love for us.
It is an insanely infinite love that is ours, a gift given whether we embrace it or not, and it continues no matter how much we acknowledge or disregard it. We are, like infants, somehow unaware of the great love we’ve been given, even as we bask in the reality of it.
So this November, as we prepare for Thanksgiving, and for Advent, first and foremost and always, let us practice remembering to be thankful for all we’ve been given, the graces and gifts of yesterday and today, those we’ve seen and those we’ve not quite grasped. Thank you God, for everything always and everywhere and for all that we’ve not acknowledged in all of our days.
Now, go and make whatever part of the day you have before you, a sign of thanks and God’s love.