I would like to wish you and your families a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving. I am truly grateful for you and for the many blessings God has given me. Below is the Friar's Corner that I wrote for last weekend. Enjoy!
“Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices, who wondrous things hath done, in whom his world rejoices who from our mother’s arms hath blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.” I’m sure that this first verse from the popular hymn, Now Thank We All Our God, sounds familiar to you. It’s a beautiful hymn of thanksgiving to God and a hymn that is usually sung at the Thanksgiving Day Mass. It’s hard to believe that this Thursday we will gather around our tables with family and friends to enjoy a wonderful feast. Thanksgiving Day is one of my favorite holidays because of it’s simplicity. There are no pressure to buy gifts or prepare for weeks but instead it’s simply a gathering of loved ones, to enjoy a nice meal and more importantly giving thanks to God for the wonderful blessings that he has bestowed upon us. I believe more than ever we need a holiday like Thanksgiving in our country. We live in a time that everyone seems so busy that families no longer sit together for a meal and converse, families don’t realize the blessings they have in their lives.
As the unemployment rate increases and the economy just doesn‘t seem to be getting stronger, it’s becoming more difficult to be giving thanks but there is so much to be thankful for. We should ask ourselves and our families the following questions before we begin our Thanksgiving meal. What am I thankful for? What challenges have been sent my way that has made me a stronger person? Do I see the small “miracles” that occur around me each and everyday? Am I grateful for the people that are place in my life that truly love me?
I know in my own life I’m so thankful to God for my vocation of being a priest and a Franciscan. Which has given me opportunities to serve him in ways that I can’t imagine. I’ve had many challenges in my life that at the time I wish I wasn’t going through them but I know it made me a stronger person that can help others from my experiences. I’m blessed by the brothers in my community, the people that I minister to and my family and friends who give me so much love and support. So as I sit with my family around the table (with the delicious food that my mom has put so much love into) I will truly be grateful for another year of blessings that he has bestowed upon me and my family this past year.
May you and your families and friends have a blessed Thanksgiving and may we
“give thanks to you, O LORD, with all of my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth; in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise; I will worship at your holy temple.” (Psalm 138)