November 16, 2011
Read below for a message from Father Roberts and then click the link to see what the children of our RE program are thankful to God for.
"No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.” - Saint Ambrose
For centuries, holy men and women have praised God in thanksgiving, as is evidenced throughout the Bible and in the writings of the saints. These days, for most Americans, the term “thanksgiving” references a day in November when families gather to enjoy a nice fat turkey with all the trimmings then watch a little football, take a nap and plan the following day’s shopping excursion. Sure, we may remember to say Grace before the meal, but do we look beyond what's in front of us when giving thanks?
Thanksgiving is a celebration with origins in colonial times, when, having survived brutal winters, fraught with contagious disease and malnutrition, Pilgrims’ reaped their first bountiful harvest. After that, it was celebrated in individual colonies and states until it became a national holiday during the Civil War. In 1941, the fourth Thursday of November was officially designated as Thanksgiving Day, and that year, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed it “as a day to be observed in giving thanks to the Heavenly Source of our earthly blessings.”
So, even though Thanksgiving is not a liturgical holiday, let’s remember to find ways to show our gratitude to God - not only for the significant blessings in our lives, but for the little things as well. As G. K. Chesterton said, “You say grace before meals. All right … But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! – 2 Corinthians 9:15
While seeking inspiration for the season, we went to two separate sources for a special Thanksgiving message - Father Christopher Roberts and our Religious Education students; as you might imagine, the result was equally as diverse. Father Roberts offers a profound and rarely contemplated perspective on Thanksgiving while the wonderful children of our parish shared some of the blessings they recognize in their own lives. Read below for Father Roberts' message and then click to see what special thoughts the children shared!
May you and your family have a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving holiday this week filled with many blessings from our Heavenly Father!
A Thanksgiving Message
One of the hard facts of life is that all of us will have to face moments of personal crisis. These crises take a variety of forms, such as coming to terms with an addiction, accepting the consequences of our own bad behavior, entering into the pain of wounds from our family, dealing with financial distress, bad health and ultimately death.
Our faith gives a challenging exhortation in the face of these seeming contradictions. Saint Paul urges us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Th. 5:18). If we really understand these words, we cannot help but be struck by Paul’s directness. Everything, including the worst possible evil, is an occasion for praising the Lord. This is precisely what the Church does in celebrating the passion and death of Jesus Christ at every Eucharistic Sacrifice.
We profess faith in an all-powerful God. In affirming that God is omnipotent, we are not saying that He is the strongest power in the universe. Rather, we are confessing that all power comes from Him. While God never actively wills evil, it is equally true there is nothing that happens that He does not permit. Everything that comes to pass is in some way a part of the divine plan.
This week our nation celebrates Thanksgiving. It will be easy for us to thank God for the good things that we have received from His hand and try to pass over those that seem bad. Difficult as it is, we are invited this Thanksgiving to offer praise for all of our misfortunes also. We may never know exactly how in this life, but the God who raised Jesus from the dead is working to bring good out of them, not only for ourselves, but for the salvation of the whole world.
Read what the Religious Education children thank God for
By Father Roberts, Associate Pastor