Monday, November 22, 2010

A Season of Thanks

Today is the feast of St. Cecilia, Patroness of Church Musicians. In Rome's Catacombs of St. Callistus there is a lovely statute of this saint. With long flowing hair she is depicted as lying on her side, three fingers together signify the Triune God for whom she died. During this month, the Church has honored saints with her without canonization: all those who have "fought the good fight", and have "won the race" as St. Paul described himself.
For Americans of a certain age, this day stands out too for the shock of seeing our president assassinated 47 years ago. I remember the day and the moment when a woman emerged from a taxi in Buffalo, New York. She shouted to anyone who could hear, "They shot the president!" That was the first time in my life that someone had done violence to a political leader in my country. Then came Bob Kennedy and Martin Luther King--both victims of assassins. those events seemed to me to mark a new era in our history.
Yet, in comparison to some other places on this earth, we Americans and Canadians live in relative peace. This is something to be thankful for. Yesterday on Public Television a Benedictine Brother was featured as one who preaches gratitude as a way to gain peace. He said that "everything is a gift." He is so right about that. He qualified his statement by saying that war and other obviously evil events do not in themselves call for gratitude. However how we face up to unfortunate events can be a source of gratitude, if we make the best of them. It's worth the time it takes to transform a potential cause for griping into a cause to celebrate and to give thanks.
Thursday we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day. May we each say a profound "thank you" to God, and to all those to whom we owe gratitude.
Best wishes for a very blessed Thanksgiving Day!

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