Its been a rough year for sure with the pandemic and other social challenges we face. As we begin our week, I invite you to focus on the true meaning of Thanksgiving. Sure, it is nice to have a day where we overindulge in turkey, fixings, and pie until we are in a food coma but let us pause and focus on the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is the public acknowledgement or celebration of divine goodness. It is the act of giving thanks, a prayer expressing gratitude. It is easy to look beyond our circle of influence and be overwhelmed by the critical and inconsiderate world we see in the media and social media. With grace, we can open our eyes and hearts to the divine goodness in front of us when we slow down and be present in our life.
It is relatively easy to forget about all the good things God has done for us and to neglect giving thanks for our blessings. Reading Psalm 103 can help foster a spirit of thanksgiving by keep our eyes focused on the good God has done for us.
He fills our days with good things.Focus on His truth, Psalm 103:5
Eucharist, from the Greek word eucharista, means thanksgiving. The Catholic Church teaches that “the Eucharist is ‘the source and summit of the Christian life.’” Participation in Holy communion during mass, consumed with a humble heart, allows the Spirit to increase in me, decreasing my strong will and self-reliance. This allows me to fill my heart with His goodness and surrender to Christ as King of my life.
As a convert I struggled with the concept of transubstantiation – the idea that during Mass, the bread and wine used for Communion become the body and blood of Jesus Christ. For many years, I used the “fake it until you make it” strategy until I identified what was holding me back. Once I started praying for an increase in faith and trust overtime I now believe.
Apparently, I wasn’t alone because a new Pew Research Center survey finds that most self-described Catholics don’t believe this core teaching. In fact, nearly seven-in-ten Catholics (69%) say they personally believe that during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine used in Communion “are symbols of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.” Just one-third of U.S. Catholics (31%) say they believe that “during Catholic Mass, the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus.”
Seeing the Miracle of Lanciano during a trip to Italy, supported my leap of faith. It was there that a monk who had doubts about the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist found, when he said the words of consecration at Mass, that the bread and wine changed into flesh and blood. This is a recognized miracle with science behind it as well.
Sometimes we must jump with both feet into faith and trust. Other times we need to slow down and appreciate what is in front of us. Expressing gratitude helps us cultivate a thankful heart. If you need some inspiration, here are some practical tips to cultivate gratitude in your life.
Gratitude turns what we have into enough – Melody Beattie
As I write this from M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, where my husband and I have shared a hospital room for 3 weeks, I am grateful he is cancer free after a successful bone marrow transplant in February. He has spent most of this year as an inpatient dealing with complications, I am grateful that during this admission I can be with him. I am grateful for our family and many friends who help lighten our load and hold us up in prayer. I’m grateful for my faith that strengthens me. I’d love to hear what you are grateful for in your life right now.
Happy Thanksgiving and for being Smitten With Goodness!