November 2007 - Volume 12, Issue 4

Editorial – A Lot To Be Grateful For

By Rev. Mark Connolly

Photo of a homeless personThe month of November, because of Thanksgiving in particular, reminds us that in our country we have a lot to be grateful for. There is no doubt we don't have everything we want, but most of us have the things that we need.

In showing gratitude to others we express our thanks to God for what God have given us. Those of us who are grateful know we can never take the gift of sight or the gift of sharing for granted. Those of us who are grateful know that our country, as imperfect as it is, has been a great savior to many third world countries where people are not earning a dollar a day.

Concerning the Catholic Church and our gratitude, God has allowed us over the course of our life time to be baptized, to receive communion, to receive confirmation, marriage and the last rites under His total protection. We, as Catholics, owe something to God for allowing us to be part of His Church. We also owe something to our country for God could have allowed us to be born in a third world country and not in this wonderful land.

We cannot constantly always be demanding that life get better for us when oftentimes we know others are living in tragic situations. The abject poverty of Haiti, the terrible tragedy of Darfur, the genocide cases all throughout our civilization. Most of us don't even have a clue as to how these tragedies impact the lives of others. That is because of what God in His generosity has done for us. He has spared us greater tragedies.

Many, many years ago the older missionaries used to give the example that if you could go to Church and in a magical way bring the cross whatever it was that you were carrying up to the center of the altar and then others had the opportunity to bring their own individual crosses to that same altar, you would be happy to go back and reclaim the cross that you might now be complaining about. All you have to do to recognize how blessed we are is that no matter how old you are at this moment consider the health you have compared to others. Your hands move, your eyes see, your mouth speaks, those blessings we cannot take for granted. I am in nursing homes constantly. We see hundreds of aged people throughout the course of the year deprived of the gift of speech and hearing and mobility. Gifts that you and I oftentimes take for granted.

Thanksgiving is a beautiful holiday. It doesn't have the fanfare, it doesn't have the commercialism of Christmas, but it does have a unique spirituality whereby we see families getting together enjoying each other and taking part in a wonderful weekend. Other people are not as lucky. And so, on this Thanksgiving day, we not only have to thank God for all the blessings He has given us, but we show God we never take these blessings for granted by helping others. Christ reminded us of this when He said, "when I was hungry you gave me to eat, thirsty you gave me to drink, naked and you clothed me". There is no doubt that on this Thanksgiving Day all throughout our country people who are a little more fortunate will be serving dinners and helping those less fortunate. That is a tremendous achievement for Thanksgiving.

I would also like to remind you the day after Thanksgiving, there are still people who are hungry, people who are still in need of compassion; people still need of your charity. Please do not forget them.