Giving Thanks This Day
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your love at daybreak,
your faithfulness in the night,
For you make me jubilant, Lord, by your deeds;
at the works of your hands I shout for joy” (Psalm 92).
Not a day goes by when we do not have something for which to praise God. Today, Thanksgiving, is a special festive time set aside in our nation to remember and offer thanks for the blessings we have received and continue to receive from our kind and gracious Lord.
Jesus constantly praised God and offered him thanks. For example, he always gave thanks before he broke bread. He did this at the multiplication of loaves and fishes. He did it also at the Last Supper, when he took bread and wine and established the Eucharist. In fact, the word “Eucharist” itself comes from the Greek for “thanksgiving.” Jesus did not limit his thanks to meals, however, and neither do we. The Lord expressed gratitude especially for spiritual gifts, special graces and the revelation of the Father.
For the blessings in our own lives, we should remember to thank God because all good things find their origin in him and we receive these goods not as a matter of entitlement or right, but because of the gratuitousness of the Lord. To be grateful and say “thank you” is simply good manners.
Giving thanks is also good for us because it reminds us that we are on the receiving end of God’s superabundant grace. When we praise God in all humility and gratitude, we acknowledge who we are in relation to our Father and Creator, his Son through whom all things were made and who is our salvation, and the Spirit of Love and Truth who animates our lives.
As we gather around the table for the traditional feast or celebrate in some other way this Thanksgiving Day, we are grateful for all we receive from the Lord’s bounty and for all his benefits – our lives, our liberties, the love we receive which brightens our hearts, the gift of faith which instills hope and teaches us a blessed way of life, the grace of God and all that sustains us. We are also filled this year with a special “sense of gratitude and thanksgiving to the Most Holy Trinity for having granted us an extraordinary time of grace” in the Jubilee Year of Mercy (Misericordiae Vultus, 5). On a personal note, I would like to convey how grateful I am for your prayerful support, which I depend upon very much in my ministry.
Today, and during the upcoming Advent and Christmas seasons and beyond, please be assured of my prayers for you. With our hearts filled with gratitude, may God bless our nation and continue to graciously lift up his countenance upon us, and may the Lord grant you joy of heart and may peace abide among you; may his goodness toward us endure in the land to deliver us in our days (Sirach 50:22-24).