Then Jesus took the loaves, and when he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated; so also the fish, as much as they wanted. John 6: 11.
I love the Thanks-giving holiday for a lot of reasons. First, I think few things are more important for our spiritual lives than learning to approach God and His world with gratitude. I have known several people in my life who just had that aura of holiness about them, and without exception they all had the gift of gratitude. Secondly, I think we find ourselves very near to the Sacred when we join with friends and family and collectively recall our gifts. Finally, as we stand on the cusp of the season of Advent and prepare to celebrate the gift of the Incarnation, giving thanks just feels like the right thing to do.
I ran across this Orthodox prayer the other day, and it struck me as ideal for giving thanks for all our gifts:
“Glory to You who have called me forth into life;
Glory to You who have revealed the beauty of the universe to me;
Glory to You who have opened both heaven and earth to me as an eternal book of wisdom;
Glory to Your eternity in the midst of this temporal world;
Glory to You for Your mercies known and unknown;
Glory to You for every sigh of my sorrow;
Glory to You for every step in my life, and for every moment of joy;
Glory to You, O God, unto the ages!”
God give us all grateful hearts,
James R. Dennis, O.P.
© 2011 James R. Dennis