Next Thursday we will celebrate Thanksgiving which is an important celebration for gathering with those we love and for honoring part of our American history. It helps us to recall the many things for us to be thankful for throughout our year.
Many families pause before Thanksgiving dinner to share together what we are grateful for. It is a moment of profound reflection on what we often take for granted— that we are very blessed! Most of us are filled with the blessings of life, love, family, health, home, food, and freedom.
As Catholics, we have a unique opportunity to extend our thanks in every liturgy. The Mass itself is an act of Thanksgiving with the very word “Eucharist” meaning to give thanks. We take the time to gather to express from our heart to God all the incredible blessings He gives to us. Our hearts sing with joy, and our prayers are filled with our devotion to the One who gives us everything. We listen to the story of God’s love throughout all time in the readings from the Scripture at each Mass. These readings of infinite value and the priest’s inspiring homily allow us to reflect on the broader gifts of salvation and grace as well as our unique place in the family of God.
We come to Mass with full hearts because we have spent time with God throughout each week. We reflect on His many gifts to us and are in awe of His amazing love for us. We treasure the supernatural connection each Mass has for our souls by receiving Jesus Christ into our very beings and by building a very personal relationship with Christ. We are sent back out into the world from Mass full of ultimate love and grace!
With all that upon our hearts, each Mass is the most profound Thanksgiving feast we could ever attend!
Here is one quick reflection on what being thankful can symbolize:
When we know the eternal love of God that called us into life, sustains us and draws us to Heaven, we can understand authentic thanksgiving. Our humble heart knows that we cannot truly do anything with God no matter how “good” we try to be. The more we reflect upon our blessings throughout each week the more our hearts are thankful. The more we see God’s touch in our lives, the wider our capacity for gratitude grows.
So let us open our hearts to being thankful to God for His love and for the blessings He showers down upon us! Through the daily crosses, the tough days, the joy filled days, and the days that fly by, may we find a way to say:
I will praise you with all my heart, glorify your name forever, Lord my God. – Psalms 86:12
Author: Laura Stephens, FF Sacrament Preparation Catechist