By Judie Brown
The responsorial psalm this past Sunday garnered this response from the congregation: “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord!”
What a marvelous exclamation of joy and exultation from the children of God who realize that thanksgiving is an attitude and a word of love; it is not a particular day, but rather it is every day! Oh yes, Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States. It is a wonderful time for families to celebrate by enjoying televised football games, family games, lots of tasty food, and the expression of gratitude for the gifts God has given to them.
But it occurs to me that we need to be rejoicing—going to the house of the Lord to give thanks—every day. We do this by emulating Christ in the way we live, the way we think, and in the way we respond to others—especially those in dire need of our love and prayers.
Thomas à Kempis’ words in his world-renowned Imitation of Christ should speak to you, to me, and to everyone:
“He who follows me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord. By these words of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus Christ. The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.
What remarkable words these are for those of us who are sincerely thankful for so much because the Lord has called us to strive every day to work in His vineyard, expressing our dedication to restoring respect for the personhood of the individual while working to snuff out the stench of Satan that permeates our laws, student classrooms, and places of imposed death located in so many of our communities.
As we give thanks for our family, our loved ones, and our precious faith, may we also remember to be thankful for those who are grateful that, as pro-life Americans, we stood in the gap, protected them from death, and stood with them in love and charity as they suffered through illness and other forms of strife. We are thankful to God for giving each of us, though sinful human beings, the gift of love, for through that gift we touch others and affirm their lives each and every day by our work, our prayers, and our ability to imitate Christ.
We are thankful for the courage to face the daily challenges the Lord sets before us. We are thankful for the millions of pro-life Americans who strive to serve Him in so many amazing ways. We are thankful for our families, our friends, and our enemies too.
And finally, we are thankful for Christ, the Son of God. For, as St. Paul said, God the Father has “taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves . . . and in him, we gain our freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.”
We know that when we do our best for Jesus Christ, our Lord and King, we are indeed rejoicing in His name and in His glory.
May you and your family have a marvelous, blessed, and safe Thanksgiving.
“Let us go rejoicing to the House of the Lord!”
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