Thanksgiving day is celebrated once a year as a national holiday. But as follower of Jesus, thanksgiving should be every day! Why? For many reasons!
First, the Psalmist commands us to give thanks: " Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; for His mercy endures forever."
Second, St Paul invites us in his letters to give thanks to God constantly; that means, at all times!
Third, Jesus rejoices in gratitude and suffers when faced with ingratitude. Jesus healed the 10 lepers of this contagious, painful, incurable disease-- that of leprosy-- and only one of the 10 returned to give Jesus thanks and this man was a foreigner (Samaritan). This ingratitude must have wounded the loving Heart of the Saviour!
Fourth, Jesus was the epitome of GRATITUDE. Before working the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus raised His eyes to heaven and gave thanks!
Fifth, LAST SUPPER AND EUCHARIST. At the Last Supper Jesus took bread and "Gave thanks". "Eucharist", a word coming from Greek actually means "Thanksgiving." Therefore the greatest gift, "The Gift of Gifts", from God Himself, the "Eucharist means "Thanksgiving".
Therefore, all of us should strive to give constant thanks to God our supreme and most generous Benefactor. Honestly, everything we have in life on a natural, economic, social, moral, spiritual plane are pure gifts of God. As St. Paul asserts, quoting the Greek poet: "In Him we live and move and have our being."
Why not compose your own LITANY OF THANKS! Following is a list of reasons why our heart should be abounding in thanksgiving. It is our duty, but also our privilege to thank God! This list will limit itself to spiritual gifts from the "Giver of all good Gifts".
1. FAITH IN GOD. A rapidly spreading phenomenon is the acceptance of ATHEISM--- the denial of God. Your faith, do not take it for granted; rather, be thankful for it and cultivate it, as the seed planted and nourished!
2. PRAYER. You pray? If yes, also give thanks! This too is a gift coming from "The Gift of Gifts" the Holy Spirit who actually teaches us to pray. "We do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Holy Spirit, intercedes with ineffable groans so that we can say, Abba, Father." (Romans 8). Many do not pray and consequently suffer sadness, confusion and aimlessness in life!
3. GUARDIAN ANGEL. He is your constant friend at your side. Give thanks to God for His gift of friendship, but talk to him and thank him for having inspired you with holy thoughts and saved you from many dangerous spiritual pitfalls!
4. DIVINE MERCY. Despite your many failures, God has forgiven you as He forgave the Prodigal Son upon his return, and as the wandering sheep brought back to the fold. God's mercy, His greatest attribute--- Lord I thank you and I praise you for such a wonderful gift!
5. SAINTS. There is a wonderful crowd of Heavenly Friends that are waiting for your prayers from heaven and longing to see you advance in Friendship with God. Your prayer to them fills them with joy and results in your receiving added graces on earth to arrive safely Home to heaven!
6. PATRON SAINT! In a very special manner, due to your parent's choice, you have a very special friend--- he is your patron saint. Look him up. Read on his life! Underline the 3 virtues he practiced best! Ask for his intercession to overcome in you that which is most displeasing to God. His intercession is powerful before the throne of God!
7 . BIBLE/ GOD'S WORD OF TRUTH. What songs of gratitude should explode from our hearts knowing that we have the "Word of Truth", the Bible, and can read, meditate, assimilate and live it all the days of our lives. Years ago, there was less access to the Bible and less literacy. Today Bibles are easy to purchase and can be read in any time and place!
8. BLESSED SACRAMENT. "Really Present" in even the most humble church in the world is the Blessed Sacrament. The Blessed Sacrament is truly Jesus, the "King of Kings and the Lord of Lords" and He is waiting for His friend--- you-- to visit Him and thank Him for all that He has so generously given to you. Yo need not travel across mountain, hillside, nor ocean to encounter Him. Just go to your closest church and there He is waiting!
9. HOLY MASS. Every day of the year and every hour throughout the world the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being offered by the priest to God the Father for the forgiveness of sins, conversion of sinners and for the salvation of the entire world. Your gratitude should manifest itself by your assistance in Mass, participation and reception of Holy Communion. Remember that Mass/ "Eucharist" means "Thanksgiving". No greater gift in the world than God Himself, descending from heaven to earth to abide in the human heart. All this becomes a reality in Holy Mass and in the reception of Holy Communion!
10. MARY: MOTHER OF GOD, MOTHER OF THE CHURCH, MY MOTHER. In the prayer "The Hail Holy Queen" we invoke Mary the Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope..." In the midst of the stormy, dark, uncertain sea that we live in, we can always look up and see Mary, the Star of the Sea pointing the way to the eternal shore of salvation. Hail, Mother of God, Hail, Mother of the Church, Hail, star of the Sea, Hail, Holy Queen, mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope....
In sum, let us cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Let us give thanks to God at all times, in all occasions, and with all people. God rejoices in the heart that constantly is beating: "Thank you Lord...Thank you Lord...Thank you Lord... DEO GRATIAS!!!