Thanksgiving – the Other Half


Pumpkins, Turkeys, and Pilgrims all remind us of that 3-day long Feast after the fall harvest of 1621. However, most of us will probably forget half of the story.

After 4 persons, including the captain and a newborn babe, died aboard the Mayflower on their way across the ocean, and another 47 passed away in or after that first rough winter of 1620-21, including all but 4 of the women, our understanding of their “heartfelt gratitude” could be translated into an almost desperate:

“We are still alive! … We’re grateful!”

Which may or may not have been exactly what they were feeling.

The Christian attitude of gratitude – OUR celebration of Thanksgiving – really ought to go beyond that. As the Catechism puts it in brief:
Every joy and suffering, every event and need can become the matter for thanksgiving which, sharing in that of Christ, should fill one’s whole life: “Give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thess 5:18). Catechism #2648
The half of the story that we often forget, is not precisely the deaths of their companions, but rather everything these 53 still-living Pilgrims were continuing to SUFFER themselves. Life was anything but easy.

In other words, for us, gratitude should NOT be just about all the gifts we enjoy from God, like the 10 lepers of the Gospel today. If you read that text from the Catechism a bit more closely you’ll see it says give thanks for “EVERY!” joy, and ”EVERY!” suffering, because no matter what the circumstance – good or bad – if it is united to Christ, your whole life will be filled.

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Fr-Nathan Miller (44 Posts)


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