2016 Thanksgiving Newsletter
November 15, 2016
Dear friends of MMJMJ,
A blessed and happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
In light of this national feast and especially during the course of Thanksgiving Day itself, we reflect on all of the blessings that God has given to us, and perhaps also receive a good number besides. Of course, we as Christians should be no strangers to gratitude. Scripture invites us throughout its pages to “give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever.” (Ps 136) In the Eucharist (meaning, literally “Thanksgiving”), we give thanks to God for all His blessings, and especially for the supreme gift of His Son, Whose Body and Blood we receive therein for the salvation of our souls. So also Our Lady, overflowing with gratitude, exclaims, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Gratitude is a virtue essential to the experience of joy, as well as to a life lived in hope, to our growth in faith and in the love of God.
Our lives can often be filled with uncertainties, and as we live in a world that is distancing itself from God, we are called upon to put our hope in the One who never changes. We can cast our cares upon Him Who cares for us. (1 Pet 5:7) In Him we discover peace and stability, and even if this does not immediately affect our outward circumstances, He can still establish Himself in the quiet of our souls with a peace that surpasses all understanding. (Phil 4:7) Gratitude enables us to keep our eyes fixed on the One Who is our Peace, even if we neither perceive His consoling presence around us, nor even in our physical or emotional being. Gratitude also strengthens us to live beyond ourselves and even the minimal purposes of self-survival, and instead to seek to love and be generous towards Him and others in whom we by faith may perceive Him. Through sincere gratitude we make of ourselves a gift to God, which God Himself receives, according to the meaning of theologian Fr. Romano Guardini’s phrase, “someday He will show us how He received our gift, and that will be a part of our blessedness.” At the end we will perhaps see, in humility, if we may so dare to speak along with Guardini, how grateful God is to us, as a father to his beloved child, for our little gift.
Dear friends, we are truly grateful for all of you, for your friendship and for the many gifts we have abundantly received from you. We carry you to God in our earnest prayers, presenting your needs daily at the holy altar. We pray that you enjoy a blessed Thanksgiving holiday, with peace in your hearts and homes. May we thank God together for His many gifts to us—we are never more generous than Almighty God—for in this Spirit there is true joy. And may we with St. Paul learn to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess 5:16)
God bless you.
With a grateful heart to Almighty God,
The Maronite Monks of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph