A Thanksgiving to Remember

Dominican Friars | November 22, 2023

“Remember the marvels he has done” (Ps 105:5). Remember. Last year, when I was a novice, the novice master had us do an exercise he called “singular moments of grace.” The point of the exercise was to compose a list of moments in your life in which God was at work. It was a beautiful way of recalling the marvels God has worked in my life. What quickly became evident was how God’s grace is active in all moments of life, from the most pivotal, life-changing, to the more mundane, everyday experiences. Thanksgiving fills the soul as it remembers the marvels God has done for it. That soul cannot but run to the tabernacle to pour out its gratitude to God for all his incredible blessings.

As we approach this Thanksgiving holiday, we ought to take stock of all the graces God has abundantly poured out in our lives. Saint Paul reminds us, “What do you possess that you have not received? But if you have received it, why are you boasting as if you did not receive it?” (1 Cor 4:7). Everything we have comes from the generous hand of God and the only proper response to his countless blessings is thanksgiving.

A spirit of thanksgiving is what our world desperately needs. The spirit of negativity is one of the most lethal poisons in our world today. One does not have to look far to see the harmful consequences of negativity, invading families, workplaces, and even the Church herself. The antidote to this poison is thanksgiving. Remembering the wonderful things God has done for us fills us with the spirit of thanksgiving, a spirit that is necessary to change our hearts and the hearts of those around us. Do not underestimate the contagious power of thanksgiving!

Holidays can be a source of stress for many people. There is so much to do, whether it be preparing the big meal, shopping, or traveling. This week leading up to Thanksgiving provides a great opportunity to take some time to remember those singular moments of grace in your life. Write them down and carry them with you throughout the week. Let them culminate on Thanksgiving Day by taking all these moments of grace to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the truest and greatest act of thanksgiving. There is no greater gift than receiving the very body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Prepare a thankful heart for him to dwell in. And never let that spirit of thanksgiving leave your heart.

It’s amazing how something as simple as making acts of thanksgiving can change so much. Being thankful keeps negativity from creeping in. The spirit of thanksgiving keeps life in its proper perspective. Keeping before us the countless ways God has blessed us, allows us to keep our focus on him, the God who infinitely loves us and who is with us through our greatest joys and our deepest sorrows. In the busyness of life, it is easy to forget to be thankful. To be thankful, one must first remember, which entails a diligent effort, lest one forget to remember. Consider adopting a spiritual practice of beginning and ending each day by thanking the Lord for four things. Thankful hearts will change lives.

And remember that, if the Thanksgiving holiday gets away from you, the marvelous season of Advent is quickly approaching. Advent, as it was for last year’s novices, is an incredibly grace-filled time to remember all that God has done for us, which fills our hearts with thanksgiving as we anxiously await the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. May this truly be a Thanksgiving to remember.

This article was originally published in the dominicanajournal.org and was written by Br. Jacob Gerber, O.P..

Photo taken by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P..

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