What is Thanksgiving Day all about?

Recently at Mass, we heard the story of the 10 lepers who came to Jesus for healing.  Jesus healed all 10 of them, but only 1 returned to thank Him.  Turns out that this man wasn’t even a Jew, a member of the chosen people, but a Samaritan.  Anyone who was listening to the orginial story would understand the point:  God judges us based on our thankfulness in our hearts, and not by outward appearance.  God is looking for thankfulness in the depths of our hearts.

Thanksgiving is a very special and unique American holiday.  By saying that we are giving thanks, we are admitting that all that we have comes from a loving God.  Do we thank God on Thanksgiving?  Or are we thanking oursevles on Thanksgiving?  Are we thanking each other?  Certainly, there is room for that positive self-respect and for thankfulness towards neighbor.   But ultimately, Thanksgiving is not an secular humanist holiday.  It is a religious holiday to thank God, even though it was called for by no religious organization, but by our government.

Maybe God hasn’t split the Red Sea in two for us this past year.  Or maybe God hasn’t turned water into wine for us.  God doesn’t specialize in the huge miracles, as much as God specializes in being in our hearts.  Certainly, God will perform great works, but it is for the purpose of making a home in our hearts.  God wants to see the contents of our hearts this Thanksgiving holiday.  Undoubtedly, there are some untidy rooms in the house of our heart.  The point is not perfection in the heart, but gratitude in the heart. Whether the blessings of the past year be seen or unseen, is that thankfulness present?

If we can be gracious and thankful to God, then God can lead us onward through life’s journey.  We say that we believe that God created us, and that through the blood of the Son of God, we have been redeemed.  Why do we hesitate to be thankful and gracious to Him?  Why would we keep God at arm’s length away from us?  For we who are discerning the will of God for our lives,  thankfulness is a must.  God cannot lead us onward to our vocation (or through the living out of our vocation) if we are hesistant to let Him in.  Thankfulness lets God in.

I hope that the stress and busyness of this upcoming week does not crowd out the thankfulness in your heart.  Take some time to cultivate that attitude in your heart, and God will surely lead you forward.

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About erievocations

I am a priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Erie, PA. I am an Assistant Vocations Director, tasked with the promotion of seminary recruitment. My blog deals with discernment of vocations, especially to the priesthood, as well as our universal call to be holy.
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