Thursday, November 25, 2010

There Is One! There Is One!

The movie Miracle on 34th Street nears the end, and young Natalie Wood runs down the stairs, declares Kris Kringle to be Santa Claus, then rushes to the back door to check the yard for a swing: She screams: “There is one! There is one!!”

Ahhhhh, it IS Thanksgiving Day.

“And the Lions lose yet again.” Yes, it is indeed Thanksgiving Day.

Your day today may have been hectic, but mine was quiet. At mass this morning, Fr. John stressed our need for reflection after the reception of Holy Communion and at the end of the day; both times for thanksgiving, but also times for reflection on our relationship with God. Father? Brother? Friend? Acquaintance? Stranger? Should we change that? Will we? Tomorrow is another day; what will WE (us and Him together) make of it?

In the quiet of my day I took time out to reflect on my relationship with Him, and the things for which I give thanks this day:

1) I Was Found. I lived my well-planned life for many years. Some admired my success, but increasingly, I knew better. I was lost. One day I realized all my plans and all my successes were nothing, and I told Him so. I didn’t plan THAT thing, but suddenly there it was: I was lost, but now I am found. And He was with me. I am so thankful.

2) The Eucharist. Communion with God, or at least it was supposed to be, but for many years I felt it was just me. Then it changed. Along with being found and knowing it, He stayed. Suddenly I knew that Host on the altar was Him, really Him. And He was always there for me. I’d never feel alone again. Ever. I am so thankful.

3) Re-Gifting. Most people think of re-gifting as a bad thing, the giving away gifts received that you don’t want. I see re-gifting as a great blessing, when I am able to give away the things that I DO want. God the Father did that for me. A precious gift He had, His Son’s life, but He gave away for me. I could never give away such a precious gift as He did, but I can give away other gifts He gives me. The wonderful graces and blessings He bestows on me are always given in excess, so that I can choose to give some away, precious gifts from Him re-gifted to those I meet, His friends. I am thankful that He helped me understand the value of re-gifting.

4) Those Who Work for Me. Catholic book stores, Catholic radio, those dedicated to the poor, and those speaking up and participating in politics. Those people work for me, doing things for me and others that I would wish I could do, but I have been given other talents and things to do. I am thankful for their dedication, working for me.

5) Those Who Pray for Me. Like the elderly man, Mario, who spends all his day in the local chapel, caring for things --- and people --- there, and praying, for me. There are many religious orders whose members spend all their day praying, for me, among others. (And I remember them, too.) For all these, I am thankful. I need them so much.

You cannot be thankful for things you earned, money, prestige, or even power. That is only justice for your efforts. Things which you are freely given however, which you did not earn yet receive great benefits from, those are gifts for which you should be thankful. God has blessed me with many gifts, many sudden unexpected blessings. I look back and see how often that has happened.

Today I think on these gifts that I have received, through no merit of my own. Every time I come across a new one of them and suddenly realize that God has blessed me yet again, I smile quietly at His generosity, but I want to point and scream out at the top of my lungs: “There is one! There is one!” Something so wonderful, yet so unexpected. A gift.

I am so thankful.

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