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November 26, 2014  


(1Co 1:4-8) I give thanks to my God always for you, for the grace of God that is given you in Christ Jesus: That in all things you are made rich in him, in all utterance and in all knowledge; As the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, So that nothing is wanting to you in any grace, waiting for the manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Who also will confirm you unto the end without crime, in the days of the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

CATHOLIC SAN FRANCISCO: Thanksgiving reflection: All good gifts come from God by Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone

DR TAYLOR MARSHALL: 6 Amazing Catholic Thanksgiving Facts You Need to Know

: Five ways to put the thanks back in Thanksgiving by Father William Byrne

President Abraham Lincoln's words are as relevant today as they were in 1863 and have inspired my five ways to put the thanks back in Thanksgiving.

1.- “sojourning in foreign lands” – Say a prayer at your Thanksgiving table for those who are away from home, especially those who serve our nation in both military and civil service. While you do so, look around at those seated next to you and savor the joy of being with those you love.

2.- “beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens” – Jesus offered Himself on the altar of the Cross as a sacrifice to our heavenly Father for the sins of all humankind. The Mass is our participation in that Sacrifice. He gave us bread and wine to offer so that we do not have to die on a Cross to know the fruits of His victory. The Eucharist comes from a Greek word meaning “thanksgiving.” Go to Mass on Thanksgiving if you can, or another day if you’re roasting the bird, and tell God how grateful you are for everything, especially for saving you.

3.- “humble penitence” – Old Abe hits it on the head. In order to be truly grateful to God, we have to be really aware of how much mercy He has given us. This should evoke in us not just thanks, but also sorrow for the times that we ignore His generosity. Tell God you’re sorry, and the best place to do that is in Confession.

4.- “commend to his tender care”- If we call ourselves followers of Jesus, we must help those in need. In addition to putting some cans in the food drive this holiday season, mark the last Thursday of each month as a mini-Thanksgiving. On this mini-Thanksgiving day, stop and call to mind again your blessings and give God praise. Then, make a point to share with those who need your help. Food pantries need food not just in November.

5.- “Almighty Hand” – Abraham Lincoln was not afraid to talk about God. Some think that the voice of faith has no place in public discourse. We must be thankful not just for the gift of life and liberty, but the also for the Creator who gives us all that is good. We should be proud and thankful to know the Lord, and we should not be afraid or embarrassed to share Him and His joy with others.

VALLEY CATHOLIC: Origin of our Thanksgiving Day by Brother John M. Samaha, S.M.

St. Paul urged us to give thanks to God always. Our forebears and our founding fathers, active Christians, often followed this sage counsel. And eventually our national day of Thanksgiving evolved.

The very first Thanksgiving was celebrated on September 8, 1565, in what is now St. Augustine, Florida, by Spanish settlers and Timucua Indians. On that day the first Mass, an act of thanksgiving, was celebrated on American soil, and it was followed by a feast of bean soup.

Another Thanksgiving was observed in El Paso, Texas, under the leadership of Spanish explorer Don Juan de Onate, who declared: “In the name of the Most Holy Trinity…I take possession of this whole land this April 30, 1598, in honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, on this day of the Ascension of Our Lord ….” Mass was celebrated and a feast of geese, cranes, and ducks was enjoyed by the colonists, followed by a play organized by the Franciscan missionaries honoring the Native American converts.

Another interesting note concerns Squanto, the Native American who helped the Puritan pilgrims and Native Americans arrange at Plymouth Rock in 1621 what is the historical forerunner of our Thanksgiving. Squanto had previously been captured and enslaved by the English, but was freed by the Spanish Franciscans, and was baptized a Catholic. Thus, a Catholic contributed to arranging our Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving is one of the most loved and honored American holidays. Some travel considerable distances to spend this day with family. Spending time with family is surely a special blessing. But it is important to remember that Thanksgiving is much more than turkey, stuffing, and football. Unlike other secular holidays like Labor Day and the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving is a national holiday that is clearly religious in nature. As a nation of faith with Christian foundation, we set aside this day to thank God for his many blessings.

During his first year in office, 1789, President George Washington called for a day of Thanksgiving because “it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor.”

In 1815 President James Madison issued a proclamation for “a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgements to Almighty God for his great goodness.” But after Madison Thanksgiving reverted to a regional celebration in the New England states for 48 years.

During the Civil War a concerned magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hales, petitioned the Lincoln administration in 1863 that a day of Thanksgiving “now needs national recognition and official fixation to become permanently an American custom and institution.” That year President Abraham Lincoln called on Americans to “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it, as soon as may be consistent with the divine purpose, to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility, and union.”

Thoughts to ponder this Thanksgiving. Thanks be to God!

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

117. A hermit said, 'The prophets wrote books. Our predecessors came after them, and worked hard at them, and then their successors memorized them. But this generation copies them onto papyrus and parchment and leaves them unused on the window-ledge.

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