Thanksgiving Day, in Canada and the United States, is a special North American feast. Although it is not a feast on the Catholic liturgical calendar, many parishes celebrate the Eucharist with the Mass of Thanksgiving. Some will have a basket of fruit and grain, or a cornucopia, adorning the foot of the altar. Thanksgiving Day truly holds a spiritual significance for the Christian steward. It is a day that makes us take notice of the fundamentals of stewardship and the importance of having a grateful heart.
Thanksgiving is a day that gives us an opportunity to show our gratitude, provide hospitality and celebrate with loved ones. For the Christian steward, the holiday is rooted deeply in the biblical belief that the world was created by a loving God as a gift for each of us. From the two creation accounts in the Book of Genesis we understand that this gift of creation is intended to be received by us in thanksgiving and held in stewardship. As a matter of fact, this principle is one of the starting points for a truly Catholic worldview; that all creation is good and that the response to this gift can only be that of awe and a feeling of such gratitude that we would want to share this gift.
Stewardship in the Catholic tradition affirms that into this creation, God sent Jesus the Christ to live among us and teach us the ways of God, and that our stewardship of the world includes cultivating it and building it into an even better and more grace-filled world; a world that reveals the light of Christ and is returned to his Father with increase.
Stewards strive to embrace a life of gratitude; a life that reminds them of the relative abundance they enjoy. It is an abundance unavailable to most of the earth’s inhabitants. Most of us have much more than we really need, and the spirit of gratitude should impel us to share this relative abundance with those who are less fortunate.
As Thanksgiving Day approaches, let us take stock of the many wonderful blessings we enjoy. Let’s be sure to take time to thank God in prayer for our abundance; avoid the sin of an ungrateful heart; and consider how we might be even better stewards of the gifts God has entrusted to us.
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