As the Liturgical year draws to a beautiful end this week, I can’t help but revel in the idea that this week is also the “secular” feast of Thanksgiving. What a perfect time to reflect on the year, what we have done well, and what we could have improved upon… but mostly a wonderful time to truly and whole-heartedly give thanks.
For those of us who celebrate Thanksgiving, the holiday is usually full of family traditions. For many years, my own Cuban family served both traditional American and Cuban recipes on this day. Think: turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie alongside roasted pork, arroz and frijoles. From prepping with peanut M&M’s to “secret” recipes dating back centuries, every family has their own special touch for this day.
One thing that should be present for all of us, no matter how big or small a week we have, is a prayer of thanksgiving. This year I purchased a plain linen tablecloth to add to our traditions. Everyone will write one thing they are thankful for on it, and the year. Each year we will add to it so that it is a beautiful patchwork of thanksgiving prayers offered up by our family. I also wanted to find a special reflection to add right in the center, to “ground” our tablecloth of thanks:
When I have food, help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work, help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a warm home, help me to remember the homeless;
When I am without pain, help me to remember those who suffer;
and in remembering, help me to destroy my complacency and bestir my compassion.
Make me concerned enough to help, by word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted. Amen.
- Samuel F. Pugh
As I found this one, I realized it serves an excellent reflection for the end of the Liturgical year and sets my eyes on the upcoming goals for the new Liturgical year beginning next week. I invite your family to also use this one, find another, or write your own special prayer or reflection to add to your end-of-year Thanksgiving week.
A most special bonus: The word Eucharist comes from the Greek word eucharistia meaning thanksgiving, so each time we attend mass, we are having the perfect thanksgiving celebration! What a special tradition to include in our Thanksgiving festivities.
I have found in my own life that a grateful heart will completely change my outlook on any situation, so a grateful heart is what I pray to have this week as we celebrate the ending of the Liturgical Year, Thanksgiving, and prepare our hearts for the first week of Advent.
Wishing all of our families a blessed Thanksgiving!
May our hearts be filled with gratitude this week, and always.
Saint Maximilian Kolbe, pray for us.
Mary, our Good Mother, pray for us.