Tag Archives: Thanksgiving

Humility and Gratitude

An ex-student has been so gracious as to keep me in the loop about her successes. She’s a particularly bright and hardworking girl. And I never thought what small messages like that could do for me — I felt so proud of her.

What more would our Heavenly Father in heaven feel if we thanked Him and kept Him in the loop about our successes in life?

I thought, what exactly about this ex-student won my heart? She was humble; never conceited. Even when she was so smart, she listened to whatever I had to teach — she knew she could always learn something.

As the saying goes, students often teach the teachers more so than the other way round!

Prayers today for everyone — that we may always be humble in all we say and do.


Originally posted at Catholic Rambles.
Image: PD-US

Give Thanks At All Times

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
– G. K. Chesterton

In all things discern the wisdom and providence of God, and in all things give Him thanks.
– St. Teresa of Avila

The human spirit without the flame of divine love tends to reach the level of the beast, while on the other hand, charity, the love of God, raises even to the throne of God. Give thanks without ever growing weary for the liberality of such a good Father and ask Him to increase holy charity more and more in your heart.
– Padre Pio

My boyfriend is a fresh convert to Catholicism, and he has an endearing/irritating habit of pausing to say grace before ingesting just about everything.

Early in our relationship, he said grace over a cup of tea, and I sighed, “Soon you’ll be on the level of my friend Clare, who says grace before drinking water!”

He smiled sheepishly. “I do that too!”

Sometimes it amuses or annoys me, because I’m using to keeping grace just for main meals, and pausing to say grace before every bit of nutrition is unfamiliar to me; I am impatient to just get on with things. But the more I pause to say grace before downing cups of tea, nibbling on biscuits, or vegging out in front of the TV with my beloved and a mug of hot chocolate, the more it creates a spirit of thankfulness for the many blessings I usually take for granted.

I am reminded of a story about St. Dominic Savio, the young student of St. John Bosco:

… there was a visitor in the house who was asked to stay for dinner. When the meal was put on the table, the man sat down and began eating without making the Sign of the Cross or saying any prayer. Dominic did not presume to correct the visitor, but left the table and stayed away until the visitor had gone. When asked by his parents why he had acted in this very unusual way, he said, “I did not like to be at table with one who eats just like animals do.” (Don Bosco, Life of Dominic Savio)

We humans have been given the gift of an intellect which can recognize the gratuitousness of all creation and the workings of Divine Providence in our lives. Let us pause to give thanks for every blessing from our Heavenly Father, and thus be moved to return our love for His in all that we do.

One act of thanksgiving when things go wrong with us is worth one thousand thank yous when things are agreeable to our inclination.
– St. John of Ávila

Giving thanks is not weakness but strength, for it involves self-repression.
– Venerable Archbishop Sheen, Those Mysterious Priests

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

You ought to ask our Lord for just one thing, to love Him. All the rest should be thanksgiving.
– Padre Pio

Image: CrossWalk

Learning Gratitude When Life is Tough

Are you in a situation where you are discontent with circumstances? Have you ever wished that things could just turn around? We could waste our lives wishing that situations were different. We must learn to be content where we are during the times when life is less than desirable. The Lord uses every circumstance of our life to teach and mold us. However, when we feel stuck in our circumstances, we can’t let negativity take root. There is one important step we can take to help us find peace in our circumstances: praise and gratitude.


It might be difficult to praise if you’re unhappy in your current situation. Try to use a Psalm for prayer, or put on some good praise music. Worship God for Who He is. When you start to praise God, things to be grateful for likely will come to mind. You’ll be amazed as you remember the blessings and His faithfulness in the past. Once you get started, you will begin to focus on positives in your life. Your perspective will shift. Praise won’t change the circumstances, but it will show you Who is in control and the positives that are present in your life.unsplash.com

Each of us has been given so many good gifts, if only we take the time to recognize them. The circumstances that we loath today may one day turn to our joy. Consider the person who doesn’t get the job they really wanted—and later finds out how corrupt the company was and that lay-offs were imminent. We don’t know what our Father is doing. We must praise Him regardless, and trust. Romans 9:20 tells us:  But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” The circumstances of today are nothing compared to what God is molding for the days ahead.

Praise can never steer you wrong. It will strengthen your relationship with your Creator and your awe. It will also bring you a more positive mindset and a focus of the positives in your life. Praise leads us out of the valley of bitterness. Praise leads to joy, gratitude, and the loving arms of our Heavenly Father!



Spontaneous Catholics

“I know Catholics aren’t exactly known for being spontaneous…” my priest said to a chorus of laughter.

This morning’s Thanksgiving Day Mass took a turn for the unexpected when the conclusion of our priest’s homily called for an open forum among the community. He asked the 100 or so in the congregation to “go around the table” and shout out that which we are thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day.

Immediately I winced, not because I didn’t like the idea, but because I lacked faith in the bravery of my brethren. We’re Catholic, after all. We like tradition, camaraderie and (sometimes sadly) the norm.

Thus, when the first shout out in gratitude for our close community came from the music pit, my anxiety faded. I shouldn’t have been surprised. I belong to, perhaps, the greatest community of believers I’ve known.

We’re not the most traditional (we don’t have kneelers or altar servers), we’re not the most pious, but the 1300 sq. ft. commons area outside the sacristy is a-buzz with chatting families and loud voices left over from the previous Mass within minutes of a later Mass beginning.

Some of my oldest friends were in religious ed. classes with me at this church. We walked hand-in-hand at Vacation Bible School with each other, until we became the teachers. We attend weddings together, we pray together, and we visit each other.

“I am grateful for our new pastor for joining us this year.”

“I am thankful for my family and friends, that they are safe and will be well-fed this holiday.”

“I’d like to thank God for being in such a great country, in thanksgiving that He bestowed so many blessings up on us.”

“Thank you, Lord for the Eucharist and the family we come to share it with.”

The gratitude kept pouring in, one shout after another. If I were a bettin’ man, I’d say the priest was surprised at how many volunteered to speak up in the seemingly unconventional forum.

“And they say we aren’t spontaneous,” the priest concluded before we came together again to speak the Creed.

The voices that shared this morning came forward in gratitude for God, not just because there is so much for which to be thankful. They rose because the potential discomfort or possible mistakes in sharing were dissolved in the trust and Love in community we had under that roof.

Our community didn’t care if someone started reciting their prayer of thanksgiving and got tongue-tied. It’s members didn’t mind learning what other members were thinking that morning. They wanted to share together, around the Thanksgiving table.

I’m grateful that the Thanksgiving table is ever-present at Mass and in our faith communities. I’m grateful that we all enter the Mass of the New Missal this weekend, during which (and for many weeks to come) we can all expect to “mess up,” albeit together. I’m grateful that I am in Communion with every one of you reading this and with those I’ve Loved who left this Earth, in Jesus Christ.

Things to be Thankful For

Over the next few days the vast majority of Americans will celebrate Thanksgiving Day with a special meal and family time. It is always a reminder to step back and reflect on the countless way we have been blessed. Some years it can be a little more difficult to find things we are thankful for, but often that honest searching makes us realize all the little things we constantly overlook.

Here are a few things that we all can be grateful for:

  1. The closing of the two major abortion clinics in Michigan just this Monday. A group called Citizens for a Pro-life Society was at the heart of a 21 month-long effort to bring legal action against the Woman’s Choice Abortion Clinics located in Lansing and Saginaw, Michigan. And their hardcore pro-life activism worked! As of Monday, Nov. 21st—these two abortion mills where unborn babies were killed through the 24th week of pregnancy— NO LONGER EXIST! It took dedication and unending prayer, to finally get this end result. Slowly but surely we are winning over the hearts of the people, and we need to focus on all the great things that are happening in the pro-life movement; not how far we have to go.


        2 The New Translation of the Roman Missal. This is a HUGE gift to the entire English-speaking church. It is thrilling to be a part of the changes of a generation. I have heard plenty of people who don’t share my enthusiasm and question the church for making such major changes so quickly. How about thanking God for the wisdom and guidance he has given mother church and humbling ourselves to realize we can’t know more than the Holy Spirit. Here is one of the best video explanations of the changes that I have seen yet: New Roman Missal for High School Students.

So what are some things  you are thankful for? What has impacted YOUR life this year?