Thursday, November 20, 2014

Being Thankful

I see some of my Facebook friends and acquaintances have been posting “Things For Which I Am Thankful.”

Those “things” have included  “for good tires and windshield wipers,” “for eating fermented foods on a regular basis,” and "for music."

The arena for gratitude is immense.

The reasons why we should be grateful are the development of peace of mind, ease in coping with problems, openness to the intrusion of God into our daily lives.

It seems to me that to be grateful one must be humble, down-to-earth. One must be honest -- honest enough to acknowledge that it’s all gift (or “grace” if you prefer).

Without denying our ability to be creative, responsible, productive, and hard-working, I have to admit that our ability or power to do anything is ultimately a gift from God.

I don’t know who said it, but I like the observation that “Heaven is a state of thankfulness for having received what we did not deserve, and for not receiving what we did deserve.”

Georges Bernanos ended his novel The Diary Of A Country Priest with the insight that “grace is everywhere.” The poor un-named priest who was the protagonists of the novel had suffered from failures, rejection, and self-awareness of his own weakness and incompetence. On his death-bed he had the consoling epiphany that no matter one’s circumstances in life each circumstance is a gift.

The ordinary, every-day is easily over-looked, and yet it is in ignoring or neglecting the mundane that we miss God’s entry into our lives.

The Bible’s psalmists frequently encouraged the people to give thanks to the Lord. The divine goodness was manifest to any who stopped long enough to look and ponder.

Catholics especially are constantly reminded to be grateful –their most important act of worship is called “eucharist” –Greek for “thanksgiving.”

America’s nationally-observed federal holiday prompts all citizens to pause and be grateful for the sacrifices of our fore-bearers and for the divine providence which richly blessed both the country and the people who have settled here.

Even the least religious or patriotic among us have reason to be grateful. As one pundit put it, ‘If you think you haven’t much to be thankful for, why not be thankful for some of the things you don’t have?”

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

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