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 By M. Taylor

 

He stood in the road, a note of sadness in his simple, yet majestic demeanor, as He watched the ten men disappear in the distance.  Presently, a shape detached from the hazy group, and hurried back to thank the divine power that healed him of the dreaded leprosy.  “Were not ten made clean?” Jesus asked, “Where are the other nine?” (Luke, 17:17) 

Indeed, gratitude is a virtue that our human nature often leaves by the wayside. I don’t know if we so much mean to be ungrateful, as that we easily take for granted what is given us, and so, forget the source–especially in a moment of joy. At times we can also have unrealistic expectations and thus fail to recognize the gift.

So, for a country to have made the giving of thanks a national holiday, and thus, so to speak, institutionalized gratitude, is indeed a great thing, and excellent thing, a thing that can’t fail to please God, the giver of all good things.

While many countries have some form of thanksgiving on their national calendars, Thanksgiving Day is primarily celebrated in the United States and Canada.

In Canada, the origin of the celebration has roots in English harvest festivals and, actually, precedes the origin of the American feast.

First ThanksgivingIn the US, Thanksgiving dates back to the first colonists in Plymouth, M.A. in 1621, who organized a feast in thanks for a good harvest.

After that first gathering, religious and civil leaders offered various forms of thanksgiving through the years, but it was George Washington, while president of the United States, who proclaimed the first nation-wide Thanksgiving-Day on November 26, 1789. 

He established the holiday “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God.”

An attitude of gratitude moves the heart of God, as it moves the heart of anyone who is the object of sincere thanks.

Indeed, who knows but that the many and great blessings of our country are derived from that first attitude of grateful prayer of our first president?

In his marvelous little book, The Way of Trust and Love, Fr. Jacques Philippe, contemporary spiritual master, calls the virtue of gratitude “one of the secrets of the spiritual life that is also one of the laws of happiness.” 1

Expounding on the mysterious Gospel passage, “for to him who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away (Matt. 13:12),” Fr. Philippe elucidates that if we recognize and are grateful for all the good things we have received in life, we will receive even more. But if we choose to camp out in the barren land of resentment and discontent, we will receive less and less. 

This is a law written into nature. Indeed, a life lived with trust and gratitude shines, even in difficult moments. A life steeped in bitterness and resentment is miserable even amidst the greatest ease.

St. Paul invites us to “Give thanks in all circumstances …” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  He also adds with force, “And be thankful!” (Colossians 3:15)

In the sight of God we are all lepers, our souls filled with sinful sores. As a nation, despite our great qualities, and our brave generosity, we have sinned grossly and continue to do so. Suffice it to mention the holocaust of abortion.

Yet God Our Lord makes His magnificent sun rise on us each day, and warms our lives, and grows our food and shines on our journey, ever inviting us back to Him.

So this Thanksgiving, as we carve that juicy turkey, and enjoy that velvety pumpkin pie, may America and Americans resolve to be the leper that not only comes to Him for forgiveness and healing, but who does not forget to return and thank–always.

  


 References:

Douay Rheims Bible Online
Wikipedia
1 The Way of Trust and Love by Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 112
Painting: Jennie Brownscombe - 1914 The First Thanksgiving 

 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for October 29, 2020

An action of small value performed with much love of God is...

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October 29

 

An action of small value
performed with much love of God
is far more excellent
than one of a higher value
performed with less love of God.

St. Francis de Sales


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Narcissus of Jerusalem

Accused of an atrocious crime, which Eusebius does not speci...

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St. Narcissus of Jerusalem

Born toward the end of the first century, Narcissus was advanced in age when he was elected bishop of Jerusalem. Many miracles were attributed to the saintly prelate, one of which the historian Eusebius relates: the deacons being out of oil for the lamps to be used in the Easter Vigil liturgical solemnities, the bishop bade them draw water from a well. Pronouncing a blessing over this water, he poured it into the lamps, and it immediately turned to oil to the astonishment of all the faithful. Some of this oil was still preserved when Eusebius wrote of the miracle.
The general veneration of all good men for this holy bishop could not shelter him from evil tongues. Three incorrigible sinners, resentful of Narcissus’ strictness in the observance of ecclesiastical discipline, accused him of an atrocious crime, which Eusebius does not specify. They stressed the “truth” of their shameless slander by terrible oaths: one wished that he would perish by fire, the other to be struck with leprosy, and the other that he to be made blind.

Despite the fact that the faithful unwaveringly believed their bishop innocent, Narcissus – notwithstanding the shock of the detestable calumny – retired into solitude.

Sometime later, divine vengeance pursued the calumniators:  the first man died with his whole family in a fire that consumed his home; the second contracted leprosy, and the third, deeply repentant, died blind from the amount of tears he shed.

So that Jerusalem was not left without a pastor, the surrounding bishops appointed three consecutive pastors to lead the church. On the third bishop’s term, Narcissus reappeared, as one returned from the dead. His innocence having been authentically proven, his whole flock wished to reinstate him. Narcissus acquiesced, but because of his great age, he soon asked St. Alexander to be his coadjutor.

Narcissus continued to serve his flock and even other churches by his earnest prayers and exhortations as St. Alexander testifies in a letter to the Arsinoites in Egypt. In this letter he writes that Narcissus was, at that time, one hundred and sixteen years old. The Roman Martyrology honors his memory on October 29.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

The recitation of the Rosary was always a great help to Vero...

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The Rosary Saves Soldiers in Kuwait

Veronica first learned of the Rosary as a small girl watching her father fingering the beads. At first she thought he was “playing” with the shiny strand, but later, realizing the full meaning of her father’s action, and under the promptings of Grace, she became a devotee of the Rosary as well.

The recitation of the Rosary was always a great help to Veronica, who felt the Blessed Mother’s protection in her life. But then, when her youngest son, Randy, was stationed in Kuwait during Desert Storm, the devotion was to play a crucial role.

While attending a convention of Catholic Women, and greatly concerned for her son’s safety, she confided to a presiding priest that Randy was serving overseas. The good priest then suggested she and others in the group join him in praying a Rosary for Randy’s safety and other pressing intentions. Something compelled Father and the ladies not only to say five decades, but to persevere for several hours.

Two weeks later Veronica received a letter from her son in which he described that he and fellow soldiers had been in a harrowing conflict. As the bullets whizzed by, he feared for his and his buddies’ lives and prayed with all his heart. Suddenly, a great calm came over him and he heard a voice, “from the sky” that assured him they would be alright.

Conferring dates and times, mother and son marvelled at finding that the time in which he and the others were in dire peril was the same day and hour Father, Veronica and her friends were persevering in reciting the Rosary.


Note: Based on a story from 101 Inspirational Stories of the Rosary by Sister Patricia Proctor, OSC

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The recitation of the Rosary was always a great help to Veronica, who felt the Blessed Mother’s protection in her life.

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