The Thirty-Third Sunday In Ordinary Time
November 14-15, 2020
Thankfulness is an exercise in mindfulness. In 2020, a year that continues to provide ever more evidence towards the proof of Murphy’s Law, the moments of pause we must take to give thanks might be longer than we are accustomed to. As the season of Thanksgiving approaches, now is perhaps a good time to pause and consider how we give thanks, and what we are thankful for.
My practice of giving thanks usually comes at the end of the day, as an evaluative measure. The more things I can think of to be thankful for, the better my day went. It became a metric rather than a conscious process of thought. Usually, when I say goodnight to my father, closing my laptop for the night and heading to bed, his voice will often tail me up the stairs with, “Fins demà si Déu vol.” Until tomorrow, if God wishes it.
If God wishes it. I didn’t like it, because it ran counter to a sense of teenage invincibility, but the phrase always stands as a necessary reminder that every moment is a gift from God. And when we receive a gift, it is only proper to say thanks to the giver. This is the simplicity of thankfulness, something that little children understand the best, in a form of pure joy. Once each breath is a gift, we realize that we are not entitled to another, and this imbibes both a sense of urgency and gratitude for the current one.
Philippians 4:8 says: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” The ‘things’ referred to in that verse stem from an omnipresent, benevolent Creator, and we are to meditate on them in gratitude. The all-encompassing “whatever” endears this verse to me over others. We assume that God is only present in miracles and events of biblical proportions. But this comprehensive “whatever” includes all of the other things. Small things, seeded into the worry of life that: the power of a song, the colors of the leaves, a surprise favor from a friend. Gratitude is an attitude (it’s in the word itself!), and we must practice to perfect it, refracting every tiny miracle inward and reflecting love back out.