Our Lady of Lourdes Church’s Thanksgiving Day Mass will be at 9:00 AM on Thursday, November 24th. All are welcome to come and give thanks. (There will be no 5:30 PM Mass that day.)
St. Paul tells us, “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18.)
St. John Chrysostom (c. 349-407) says our thanks should be given “not only in our deliverance from evils but also at the time when we suffer those evils.” When we really believe that “in everything God works for good with those who love Him” (Ro 8:28), then we can give thanks in every circumstance. St. Josemaria Escriva (1902-1975) wrote in The Way, 658, “If things go well, let us rejoice, blessing God who makes them prosper. And if they go badly? Let us rejoice, blessing God who allows us to share in the sweetness of His Cross.”
Thanksgiving is given not only on Earth but also in Heaven. In the visions of the Apostle John in the book of Revelation, there are three moments of thanksgiving. First, he sees the four living creatures giving glory and honor and thanks to God, and 24 elders worshiping God saying, “Worthy art Thou, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for Thou didst create all things, and by Thy will they existed and were created.” (Rev. 4:9-11.) This thanksgiving is gratitude for the creation of all things, including us, by God. It includes gratitude that God willed to display His wisdom, His thought, by what He created. This is God revealing Himself so that we could know Him.
Later in the visions, great multitudes of people cry out that salvation is from God and the Lamb (Jesus Christ), and the people and angels, the living creatures and elders, again worship God and say, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever. Amen.” (Rev. 7:9-12.) This thanksgiving is for salvation, a great rejoicing in the victory Christ has won. This is God revealing Himself as such enormous goodness and love to assume human flesh in Jesus Christ, and to sacrifice Himself for our salvation, so that we could come to share in God’s life.
The third thanksgiving comes when the seventh angel blows the trumpet. St. John hears loud voices announcing that the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of the Lord (God) and of Jesus Christ (God in human flesh), and He will reign forever. In worship, the elders say, “We give thanks to thee, Lord God almighty, who art and who wast, that Thou hast taken Thy great power and begun to reign.” It is fulfillment of the Lord’s prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” The thanksgiving is for God’s reign finally accomplished over all the world and for the last judgment – the “rewarding [of God’s] servants, the prophets and saints, and [of] those who fear [God’s] name, both small and great,” and also, in justice, for the “destroying [of] the destroyers of the earth.” (Rev. 11:15-18.) This is God revealing Himself as justice, setting everything right in the end once everything in Heaven and on Earth comes entirely under God’s reign. That day will come!
So with all the angels and saints and creatures of Heaven, we have many reasons to rejoice, pray and give God thanks in all circumstances – even right now. Happy Thanksgiving!
Dibby Allan Green