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Great and Wonderful Works - Family Reflection Video

Great and Wonderful Works - Family Reflection Video

Celebrating family life  |  Seasonal Reflections

Great and wonderful are all your works, Lord, mighty God! – Revelation 15:3

So, tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States. To the online members of our community outside the US, I’ll tell you that, practically speaking, after Christmas, Thanksgiving is the biggest holiday of the year here, coming at the end the harvest, before the winter, before the Christmas rush. For Christians, it coincides with the end of the liturgical year, effectively a quiet pre-Advent moment to give thanks.

I’ve always loved Thanksgiving! In our family, we’d always start the day with the Mass of Thanksgiving in our parish, then go to a high school football game. It’s the day of the big rivalries! … Then to the feast! Aunts and uncles and others who weren’t married were always invited, making for a very big family around the table with a huge, roasted turkey and all the fixings! I was the baby of the family so I know I always got the best treatment!

Thanksgiving was always a very holy day. The presence of Jesus around that table, in that family, was very palpable to me.

Even some of us from the U.S. might not remember the origin of this day. Around 1620, when the English were first arriving to America, both in the colony of Virginia and here in the colony of Massachusetts, independently of each other, people decided to hold days of celebration, giving thanks to God for having survived serious hardship. We must not forget that Thanksgiving is a deeply religious holiday, and it is beautiful that, in spite of differences of belief, we can all unite to give thanks to God in this so very divided world!

Further, as Christians, we recognize something wonderful simply in the act of giving thanks. Indeed, thanksgiving is a grace in itself: the Holy Spirit Himself in our hearts calling us to pray, raising us up into His own Life! As the early colonists had struggled, and many had died, still they turned to God in thanksgiving, knowing that in so doing they were opening themselves to grace.

Faced with life’s challenges, we have a real choice: to stay trapped in ourselves (in our own caves, so to speak), or in a spirit of trust that leads to thanksgiving and even praise. We open ourselves to what the Lord will do and how HE WILL GUIDE us when we trust Him!

I thank the Lord that my family taught me this around the Thanksgiving Day table. Let’s be sure we teach our kids these lessons.

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About Fr. James Phalan, C.S.C.

Father James Phalan, C.S.C. is a Catholic priest, member of the Congregation of the Holy Cross, and the National Director of Family Rosary. He served as a missionary for many years as part of the Family Rosary team, travelling the globe to help people come to Jesus through Mary. Now he is happy to be serving back at home in the USA!