Happy Thanksgiving! Today we give thanks for all of the blessings bestowed on us by our good and loving God. “It is right to give Him thanks and praise” as we say in every Holy Mass (though with the new translation of the Roman Missal it will be: “It is right and just”). For, as a nation – the United States of America – we possess prosperity never before seen or even imagined at any other point in history. As a nation, we have been spared the misery of having our home soil soaked with blood in the World Wars in which our young men fought so valiantly. We have been largely shielded from other such violent evils tearing apart the fabric of our homeland. As a nation, we have been spared the level of bloody religious persecutions which have rocked many other countries throughout the history of the world. As a nation – as the United States of America – the Hand of God has been upon us, guiding and directing our ways. Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, to whom this great nation is dedicated, has been interceding for us and granting us special protection under her mantle. Thus, “It is right and just” for us to express immense gratitude to the Lord, and indeed we ought to “give Him thanks and praise.”
Today, Thanksgiving Day, was proclaimed as a National Holiday by President Abraham Lincoln, in 1863, to be celebrated on the final Thursday of the Month of November. He set in stone a tradition which had been celebrated since the pilgrims offered the “First Thanksgiving –” a three-day feast thanking the “Beneficent Father” for safely guiding them to the New World.
Yet “thanksgiving” is not just a Holiday, it is a form of prayer. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has this to say:
“Thanksgiving characterizes the prayer of the Church which, in celebrating the Eucharist, reveals and becomes more fully what she is. Indeed, in the work of salvation, Christ sets creation free from sin and death to consecrate it anew and make it return to the Father, for His glory. The thanksgiving of the members of the Body participates in that of their head (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2637).”
If you recall from your Catechism lessons, there are four forms of prayer:
Thanksgiving is one of the most important and under-utilized forms of prayer. The Perfect Prayer – the Holy Mass – accomplishes these four forms of prayer preeminently. On this Thanksgiving Day, please be sure to attend Holy Mass and thank our Dear Lord for the many blessings bestowed on our Nation – the United States of America. Please also pray for the mercy, healing and guidance that our great country so ardently needs. I will join you all in prayer from the Holy Mass which I will have the honor of serving.
The Catechism goes on saying:
“As in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. The letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving, and the Lord Jesus is always present in it: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”; “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2638).”
So on this Thanksgiving Day, I thank You Almighty God for all of the blessings which you have bestowed on me – my vocation, my joys, my crosses and my life. I thank you, my spiritual “Fathers” for all of the sacraments which I have received from your Sacred Hands. I thank you, my mom and dad for all of the love and care you have shown us your children; and for training us so deeply in our Roman Catholic Faith. I thank you, my spiritual brothers and sisters for all of the prayers which you have offered on my behalf (and I am most deeply grateful for all of you who follow my blog). Together let us “Go within His gates, giving thanks. Enter His courts with songs of praise. Give thanks to Him and bless His name (Psalm 100:4).”
“Amen! Praise and glory, wisdom and thanksgiving and honor, power and might, to our God forever and ever. Amen!”
– Revelation 7:12b