Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
November 19, 2006
Are We a Grateful People? If we would take a survey of the Thanksgiving holiday, we would probably see a very diverse list of “first thoughts” from the American public. Some think of this day as the day for watching football. Some think of the Thanksgiving Day Parade ushering in the Christmas Season and the coming of Santa Claus. It isn’t a coincidence that “black Friday”, the busiest shopping day of the year, comes on the day after ‘Thanksgiving” For others, Thanksgiving is a day for travel and visiting the family. For many it means sitting at a family dinner and eating the all popular Turkey.
For Catholics, Thanksgiving if often a confusing day. Some wonder why the parish church has a liturgy on this day. It isn’t Sunday or a Holy Day and , it is probably the most
impractical time to leave the kitchen. Others believe that it should be a Holy Day. What more appropriate time, they believe, to come together to pray. Some are not quite sure exactly what the relation is with the Catholic Church, if it has any at all. Isn’t the holiday a national day set aside for all Americans to give thanks for all we have been given?
As Christians we are told that we must be a grateful people. F. Andersen has written a very powerful little book, “Making the Eucharist Matter” on the meaning of the Eucharist. In it he explains how Christ understood thanksgiving or gratefulness. Once you have read and reflected on his words, you begin to have a completely different view of being grateful.
Another version of gratefulness is presented by Dr. Ralph Wilson who has written a number of articles on the topic of Thanksgiving. In a short meditation on a passage from
Colossians, he shares a perspective that is worth reflecting on. Giving a very candid opinion of the human condition, Dr. Wilson humorously allows his reader to reflect on the notion that we are all complainers by nature. We quickly recognize the chronic complainer who will corner any likely and unsuspecting good listener. It is strange, he says, that we have no difficulty recognizing the effect of such a complainer. Not only is this person unhappy but everyone who comes into contact with him/her is often unhappy and most often seeks the closest escape route. What we often do not realize is that we are all that basis “chronic complainer.” The complaints probably vary from person to person and some of us are probably more adept at being creative, but, the bottom line is that we all have our times and our specialties whether it be our health, our jobs, our families, etc.
As a remedy for being a chronic complainer, Dr. Wilson suggests that we try to react a little bit more like the Pillsbury Doughboy. When someone pokes him, his reaction is “Oh” and he smiles. Is that what we do when someone “pokes” us? Are we instinctively positive in our thoughts and views. Are we attractive to others in our disposition? Do we try to see the good in others? Do we see the good in our own lives? We probably don’t want to look like the little doughboy but his positive attitude might not be a bad thing for us.
Being grateful means seeing the positive in our lives and living as though we believe it. Are we a grateful people? It’s definitely within our reach. Happy Thanksgiving!
Lorette P. Nault