From all of us at St Teresa of Avila, we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!
We have all heard that the Chinese use the same word to describe the concepts of crisis and opportunity. What they mean to say is that in every crisis lies an opportunity, depending on how it is looked at.
The word crisis comes from the Greek "to separate, to sift" which means to pass judgement, to keep only what is worthwhile. There is an opportunity in every crisis and the deeper the crisis, the better the opportunity can be. But some people are not capable of seeing it. That can also be true for us, people of faith.
I’m sure that today many people will be reflecting on how they have been adapting to the coronavirus pandemic, and I hope rolled into that reflection is a pondering also on the topic of gratitude from the perspective of a person of faith.
Thanksgiving provides the perfect chance for us to explore and (strive to) articulate exactly why we are grateful to be a Catholic Christian, particularly during a time of crisis. The most obvious source of gratitude is that our Catholic faith, in addition to providing us with the guidance, provides us with the strength and perspective we all need to carry forward amidst times of intense difficulty. Jesus also provides us the Eucharist – the ultimate act of giving thanks.
While guidance to seek happiness in the happiness of others, to serve others, and to care for others are important, and this outward focus can truly get us through trying times, we first have to pause and be thankful for who we are and all we have in Christ.
The last few months have been testing, to say the least. I don’t believe anybody has been immune to the impact of the coronavirus and we have all been affected by its wrath either directly or indirectly.
Lives are still being lost, people are increasingly unsure of where to turn for solace and guidance, communities have been forced into isolation, and feelings of despair are rife even here within our community. But, the Chinese are right, with every crisis there comes an opportunity, but it is reserved only for those who can see it – that is for those who look with the eyes of faith.
It is hard to tell how long we will be suffering through this crisis. Surely there are signs of hope – the vaccine – the lowering number of deaths – the knowledge that has been gained over the last months. And there are those for whom this is already too late ... It’s in times like these that I think we can learn so much from the faith and our Scriptures. Luke says:
There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars,
and on earth nations will be in dismay,
perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
People will die of fright
in anticipation of what is coming upon the world,
for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
But the passage ends with …
And then they will see the Son of Man
coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
So, on this Thanksgiving, despite all that’s going on around us and perhaps even within us, with gratitude let’s take the words of the Scriptures to heart and live like we really believe them:
But when these signs begin to happen,
stand erect and raise your heads
because your redemption is at hand.
Let’s take a moment today also to pray for and thank those essential workers, from every walk of life, who have served us and carried us through these months, that they will also receive the reward of their labors.
May the food on our tables and the smell of our homes, and the bubbles in our glasses remind us to give thanks happily, today and always!