As we make our way into the season of “counting our blessings” and giving thanks, it is appropriate that we are sincere about remembering where all those blessings come from. I notice more and more, in our very busy society, that many people are assuming more of the credit for things that go right in their lives and less of the blame for things that often “go up in smoke” due to their failure to plan or think things through with good reasoning and logic. In those latter cases the “blame” goes to God as a sign that He just doesn’t care.
In the movie White Christmas, one of the great scenes between Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney takes place when they both head to the dining room of the inn at which they are staying for Christmas. Bing describes to Rosemary the kind of sandwiches the innkeeper has left for them. Choosing a particular kind of sandwich, says he, will determine the quality of the dreams you’ll have during the night. The basic idea, explains Mr. Crosby, is that if you want pleasant dreams, count your blessings—the best way to fall asleep. I often tell people to pray the Rosary at bedtime. If you fall asleep during your prayers, the angels will finish them. This goes deeper than just counting your blessings—it’s reassuring for the One who guarantees all our dreams in the first place.
In addition, Jesus gives us a special banquet at which we can be truly thankful for all those gifts—all those blessings. It’s so special that we speak about it as a special Thanksgiving Meal—the Eucharist. Eucharist means thanksgiving and we would do well to remember that every time we come to Mass. Be thankful that the Son of God has come among us. He shared our joys and our sorrows, our highs and our lows. He has freed us from the tyranny of the devil and given us the true liberty of the children of God. “If the Son has set us free, then we are free indeed.” (Jn. 8:36) What an incredibly marvelous thought for us to ponder as we give thanks!
Saint Teresa of Avila helps us to consider the glory and awesomeness of God in all things. She teaches: “In all created things discern the Providence and Wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.” This is a “starter” that may serve as a good place to begin the conversation at the Thanksgiving Table this year … maybe a little better than politics and such.
Happy and blessed Thanksgiving!