This Thanksgiving, no doubt, is going to be different. Our typical gatherings with family and friends likely will be more subdued — even virtual — as we contend with the impact of a pandemic. All of us have been affected by this virus in some way.
Thanksgiving is a time for sharing gratitude for all of our blessings. Yet it might be difficult to get into the spirit of giving thanks in the midst of a pandemic. But we can find inspiration by reflecting inward and viewing Thanksgiving through the lens of our faith.
In his column this week, Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski said that Thanksgiving gives us a time of peace and connection that leaves us refreshed and inspires us to do it all over again next year. We can find that sense of peace within the context of our faith, all year long from the source and summit of our Catholic faith — Jesus Christ, truly present in the Eucharist.
“Faith calls us to place the Eucharist at the center of our lives — to arrange our schedule around it, and prepare for it,” Archbishop Rozanski wrote. “It can be a bit hectic. But when we do so we experience the fruit of the Eucharist — a peace that comes to us because of our union with the Lord, and a connection with each other because of our union in Him. That’s a taste — literally — of God’s presence.”
This week, we also highlight numerous examples in the Catechism of the Catholic Church that share the connection between faith and thanksgiving. The Eucharist, the Holy Spirit, and even hallowing God’s name are all examples in which we may find expressions of thanksgiving.
Just as inspiring this Thanksgiving are the many ways in which others are continuing to support a community in need. At Sts. Teresa and Bridget Parish in St. Louis, for example, more than 400 turkeys were distributed to people in the neighborhood as well as other churches and organizations, who then give to people in need. The parish’s St. Vincent de Paul Society conference also provided much-needed paper products.
Even with the stress that comes with a pandemic, people are finding ways to continue to support those in need in our community. “God has blessed us and blessed this church,” said Marvin Brown, who participated in the turkey distribution Nov. 18.
It’s an act of love, but it’s also an act of faith. Recognizing that our blessings come from God, we take the peace we find inside our hearts and turn that outward in a spirit of giving. And being there for our neighbors in need becomes much easier when we see the face of Christ in others.