Thanksgiving Reflection

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“For, although you have no need of our praise, yet our thanksgiving is itself your gift, since our praises add nothing to your greatness but profit us for salvation, through Christ our Lord.” (Common Preface IV, Roman Missal)

On October 3, 1863, President Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday in November to be a day of, "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father," but also a day to, "fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation," (from the "Proclamation of Thanksgiving"). President Lincoln recognized, in his proclamation of Thanksgiving as a holiday for all the nation, two very important realities of his time (which should speak to us today):  the need to give thanks and praise for the abundant blessings of God's grace and the equally important need to humbly seek God's healing mercy.  At the time Lincoln saw our country simultaneously blessed by abundant harvests and cursed by the plague of war.  The fruitfulness of the land was overshadowed by the gloom of death and destruction.  There was incredible need for healing and Lincoln realized that thanksgiving and praise for what God had done…  and will yet do… was what the nation needed most.  To be uplifted from their brokenness.

When faced with the woes, wounds, hurts and anxieties of those who came to see Venerable Solanus Casey for consolation and prayer, he would often ask them to trust in God’s plan and “Thanks God ahead of time” for what he was about to work in their lives, whatever that might be.  Solanus placed his trust in God’s merciful love and asked others to do the same, approaching God with thanksgiving for a future yet unknown: “Let us thank God ahead of time for whatever He foresees is pleasing to Him, leaving everything at His divine disposal, including, with all its circumstances, when, where, and how He may be pleased to dispose the events of our death.”.  Everything that God has done, is doing and will do can have only one response from us:  Thanksgiving!  Why?  Because the ability to give thanks in every circumstance of life is a gift from God!  It is our plea for mercy, our cry for healing and our prayer for peace.  It is the gift of salvation from our God who knows the brokenness of our world and promises us a way beyond it through salvation in Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!

What inspires Thanksgiving in your heart…what do you need to Thanks God ahead of time for this year?