The month of November is filled with all sorts of nostalgic moments. For the Catholic family it is a reminder to remember the "souls in purgatory." Non-Catholics oftentimes don't understand why this is done. But the simple theological fact is that Catholics pray for their deceased relatives and friends who still are waiting to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and have an eternal private audience with God. For centuries, the praying for All Souls, that is those who have left this world and in need of our prayers, is one of the oldest customs in the Catholic Church. All of us feel a debt of gratitude to those parents and friends who helped us and guided us while they were on earth. Many of the wonderful things we have in life is due to the value system and guidance they gave us. Teachers, parents, priests and nuns, all who helped us are remembered in our prayers during the month of November.
This month of November is another reminder of the gratitude we owe to the millions of American men and women who fought for us and our country. I think many of us have seen the famous Norman Rockwell pictures illustrating freedom from want, freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom to worship. All of these four freedoms have been defended by millions of men and women in the Armed Forces who gave their lives so that we could be free.
November as we all know highlights the Feast of Thanksgiving. Our country, with all its problems, is still the greatest country on earth. In our own way, we try to feed the sick and clothe the naked. We might not be perfect, but we still try to help the downtrodden and unfortunate.
Whether we talk about the gratitude that we owe to our friends and family who have left us, whether we constantly thank God for our armed service members in the past for protecting us, whether we thank our own family and God for all our material blessings, all of this comes right down to the value system of the reader of this page.
Each one of us, when you consider what others have, should be appreciative. We have a beautiful country, fairly good health, plenty to eat, people who nurture us. For this we should be thankful. We have a God, who out of love died for us, wants us to receive his mercy and love and live with him in Heaven.
November is thanking time for all of us. In the Gospel story ten lepers were made whole and clean. Only one came back to thank God. I hope and pray that you and I will be the one to always thank God for what he has done for us.
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