Happy Thanksgiving - Christian Gratitude

Discussion in 'Inspirational Stories' started by sparrow, Nov 26, 2020.

  1. sparrow

    sparrow Exitus ~ Reditus

    Happy Thanksgiving to all the Americans here :coffee:
    From The Catholic Thing - https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2020/11/25/christian-gratitude/

    Christian Gratitude

    Stephen P. White
    Wednesday, November 25, 2020



    Some years ago, during a particularly dark and troubling time, an American Jew living abroad wrote to his Catholic friend in the States to commiserate: “Looking across the seas at my native land, I see that the barbarians have taken over everything. You are lucky: for you, despair is a sin.”

    Between the resurgent COVID closings, the long-awaited-but-still-painful McCarrick Report, and the post-election fevers to which we are daily subjected, things have been a bit of a slog lately. I have thought to myself more than once that we Catholics really are lucky that despair is a sin. At times like this, a little perspective and a little humor go a long way.

    The truth is that things have been a bit of a slog since round about the third chapter of Genesis, when our ancestral orchard thieves pilfered their way out of Eden and left the rest of us in the lurch. The author of Ecclesiastes reminds us: “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Such resignation in the face of a fallen world might not be despair, but it is a close cousin to it.

    Sometimes humor can show us the line between resignation and despair. Pope John Paul II once managed to slam his fingers in a car door. Someone near to him heard him mumble under his breath: “Thank you, Lord, for loving me in this way.” That prayer has been one of my favorites since I first heard the story, not least because it is the only prayer I know that can be prayed, simultaneously, with equal measures of piety and sarcasm.

    When Our Lord bestowed the blessing of a minor hardship upon St. Teresa of Avila (she fell in the mud), the Carmelite famously informed the Lord of the Universe, “If this is how you treat your friends, it is no wonder You have so few!”

    There is love in that sort of humorous rebuke. The bonds of friendship do not only permit such rebukes, within the bonds of friendship such barbs are a sign of true intimacy and even delight. It is a sign of a strong friendship when one can poke fun at the other and the result is the strengthening of the friendship rather than its dissolution.

    [​IMG]
    *
    Not everything is a big joke, of course. The world is in a bad way. The world is filled with suffering. There are more than enough reasons to feel betrayed and cynical and angry. Hope doesn’t grow on trees. And just like that, we’re back at Ecclesiastes again: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”

    The beginning of trust in the providence of God begins with the loss of our sense of control. In this sense, being resigned to the futility of human efforts in the face of the world’s difficulties is close to despair, but also the beginning of the way to hope. The realization that we are not in control, that we are not gods, is decisive. We should be grateful that we are not responsible for saving this broken and miserable world. If its salvation were up to us, the world would be utterly without hope.

    As I say, it has been this way since the beginning – or just about the beginning. When Adam and Eve sinned, their punishment was suffering and toil and death. Their punishment was just. But the justice of their punishment was also a sign of God’s mercy.

    Then the LORD God said: See! The man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil! Now, what if he also reaches out his hand to take fruit from the tree of life, and eats of it and lives forever?

    The LORD God therefore banished him from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he had been taken.

    Adam and Eve were expelled from Eden as just punishment for their sin, but also so that they would not remain in this fallen state forever. Death is the path God gives us to escape this vale of tears. Grace was there in the Garden, even at the Fall. Grace was there in Gethsemane and there on Calvary. God’s grace was not just present, but actively transforming the worst of the devil’s manipulations and the most heinous of our sins into the very means of our salvation. What is the line between resignation and despair, between abandoning our pride and losing hope? The dividing line is God’s own providence.

    We will suffer. We will die. And because we know that the very worst calamities that could ever befall us are nothing less than opportunities for God to pour out his grace and mercy on the world: in all things God works for the good of those who love him.

    I can think of no thought more comforting than that. I can think of no greater reason to be grateful. No greater reason to exclaim: “Thank you, Lord, for loving us in this way.”



    *Image: Expulsion from the Garden of Eden by Thomas Cole, 1828 [Museum of Fine Arts Boston]
     
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  2. non sum dignus

    non sum dignus Archangels

    Washington, D.C.
    October 3, 1863


    By the President of the United States of America.

    A Proclamation.

    The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and 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 purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

    In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

    Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

    By the President: Abraham Lincoln
     
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  3. HeavenlyHosts

    HeavenlyHosts Powers

    Thank you Sparrow and NSD for these beautiful and inspiring posts. Happy Thanksgiving!!
     
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  4. Mario

    Mario Powers

    I printed this off and read it to the family during the Thanksgiving meal!(y):cool::)

    God's Mercy and Blessing be upon us!
     
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  5. padraig

    padraig New Member

     
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