I think most people would agree that it has been difficult to live out a spirit of gratefulness, given the challenging times we have been facing. But, as Catholics, the virtue of gratitude is woven into everything we do and everything we are because, “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” (Jn 3:16) In this and in many other ways, even during the taxing times in which we live, we are very blessed people.
Our country stands out among the nations of the world as we set aside a national day of thanksgiving every year, a day during which we take stock of our lives and give thanks for all the blessings we have received. Thanksgiving Day is rooted in the belief that it is right to give thanks to God from whom all good things flow.
Interestingly, it is my experience that some of the most grateful people in this world are people who have much less than the average American because they know the source of each and every gift. It is God himself. To be grateful is the beginning of a life that is lived with joy. It is that joy that we often see in the poorest of the poor. May we have the same attitude that allows us to see everything we have as a gift from God – and be thankful with joy for our many blessings.
Thanksgiving Day gives us the opportunity to pause in prayer and gratitude for what we have been given through God’s infinite love. Perhaps, because of the current pandemic, our gatherings may be smaller this year. Still, we should give thanks for many things, including the salvation we have in Jesus, our faith in him, our loved ones, the food on our table, and the nation in which we live. Then, as with all God-given gifts, we can determine how to share our blessings with others. In this way, our Thanksgiving can also be a blessing for those around us as we share our gifts with them too.
Entering into the holiday season this year, it is with great joy and hope that I extend to you and your family best wishes for a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
May God bless you and those you love.
Your brother in Christ,
+Edward C. Malesic
Bishop of Cleveland