This Thursday, the Church celebrates that sacrosanct night when the High Priest of the New Law, Christ our God, instituted the Blessed Eucharist (εὐχαριστία – Eucharistia). This great Gift of God, which goes under various names considered under its different aspects, is preeminantly known as our “Thanksgiving.” By this Mystery, the Church renders perfect thanks to God. By It, in fact, God renders perfect thanksgiving to God.
If I were in a Greek diner and wished to thank the gentleman at the counter for something good he had given me (perhaps a well-made Moussaka), I would say Ef charisto! (Ευχαριστώ), “thank you.” He would respond Παρακαλώ (Parakaló). That modern Greek word for “thank you” has the root of that Biblical Greek word for “thanksgiving” in it.
With Our Catholic “Thanksgiving Day” fast approaching, I am reminded of my debt of gratitude to you, our readers, friends, and supporters.
If there was a single virtue that Brother Francis most exemplified for us — and there were many — the one that stands out as his “signature” virtue was gratitude. At the end of these thoughts of mine, I will, as a token of my own gratitude to you, reproduce Brother’s meditations on this virtue from The Challenge of Faith. His few words will say so much more than my many.
First, I have a special duty to say “Thank you” to all of our benefactors that have given so generously to our chapel fundraising. No matter how much you gave, we are grateful to you for getting us the funding we need to commence building our new chapel this spring!
Yes. Construction is really going to begin.
The response we received from the color flyer we sent out in February has been tremendous. To date, we have received over $100,000.00 from that one mailing. We have raised, at this writing, $261,285.00 in pledges, out of our $750,000 goal.
Our case was dire. Our words of appeal were urgent. Your response was royal! While we have a long way to go before the entire amount is collected, we are out of the dangers that were menacing us when we penned the appeal you answered so munificently.
Thanks to your magnanimity, we have the funds in hand to begin site work and lay the foundation for Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel. I hope, in future mailings, to give updates on our progress. But now, I want to say “Thank you.”
Because Brother Francis taught us to be grateful to our benefactors, you can be assured that all who gave to this project will be remembered in the new chapel built by your sacrifice, loyalty, and charity. We will pray for you, and thus keep thanking you. We will pray for you especially in that highest act of “Thanksgiving,” the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Now, as promised, I end with Brother Francis’ meditations on gratitude, from The Challenge of Faith. One brief explanation may help the reader better appreciate Brother’s wisdom. In the first of these meditations, Brother is playing off the Latin word for grace. Gratia has many meanings (as many as fourteen have been enumerated), one of which is “gift.” The corollary to “gift,” on the part of the recipient, is another meaning of gratia: gratitude. Thus do the Spanish say gracias, the Italians grazie, etc., meaning “thank you.” In the Mass, the celebrant says, Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro “let us give thanks to the Lord our God.”
- The state of grace is one of mutual gratitude between God and us. Indeed, God is excessively grateful to those who co-operate with his graces; He also is very much hurt by lack of gratitude — “Where are the nine?” (Luke 17:17)
- Sadness is a mark of lack of gratitude. The saints are always radiant with joy — a reflection of their realization and appreciation of God’s benefits.
- The prayers of thanksgiving are especially recommended in Holy Scripture.
- Our gratitude to God should include also those through whose means God deals with us, and guides our journey: our patron saints, our guardian angels, our superiors, as well as our companions in via.
- The saints eagerly extended their gratitude to include even their persecutors. We must resist the enemies of God who hinder the cause of salvation; but we must thank God for our enemies as an opportunity to suffer persecution for His sake.
- As long as we stand firm in our faith and persevere in the state of grace, there is no limit to the number of persons we must be grateful to, or the number of benefits and good things we must be grateful for.
P.S. The following are some offerings on our site for Passiontide and Holy Week:
Passiontide (last two weeks of Lent) — Passiontide Meditation.
Holy Week — The Drama of Holy Week.
Holy Thursday — The Eucharist in Four Simple Mysteries, Delivering What We Have Received.
Good Friday — The Seven Words, Imitating Christ’s Humility: Philippians 2, The Passion of Saint Joseph.
Holy Saturday — La Reconquistadora – The Virgin Mary and the Virtue of Fortitude, Two Perfect Women, Saint Mary Magdalen, the Beautiful Penitent.
Easter Sunday (Pascha) — The Agony of the Resurrection, Lazarus, Come Forth! — An Easter Meditation , The Women, The Apostles, and the Tomb: Easter in Review.