Explaining Thanksgiving

When I was in college, I studied abroad for a year in Madrid, Spain. The father of my host family was a teacher in a grade school. In the late fall, he asked me to come to work with him and give a presentation to his students on the American holiday of Thanksgiving. At first this sounded easy, but as I prepared my notes it became apparent that my six years of Spanish were not […]

Week of Gratitude

For the past several years, Paul Campbell, SJ, has spent the week before Thanksgiving hosting a Week of Gratitude on his blog, People for Others. This year’s posts are inspired by things beginning with the letter “C.” Read Paul’s thoughts and join in the lively community discussion in the comments. Here at dotMagis, many of our bloggers have contributed thoughtful posts about gratitude. Here are just a few highlights: We Cannot Stop at Thank You […]

Finding Your Perfect Point of Gratitude

November moves us toward the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving. Most of us will try to attend to this holiday before we get too crazy about our Christmas preparations. In some ways, Thanksgiving is the beginning of the long holiday we call the Christmas season. And it does make sense to practice gratitude for what has already happened before we move into hope for what is to come. I grew up in a very small town […]

Happy Thanksgiving

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving today. Take a few moments before the feast to contemplate the true gifts we’re celebrating this day. Be inspired by some of the words shared during the Week of Gratitude, hosted by Paul Brian Campbell, SJ, at his blog, People for Others. For the old, creaky wood floors and the chipped paint; for the plaster falling from the ceiling and the hissing radiators; for the neighbors who never smile and the ones […]

Happy Thanksgiving

Americans and Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving at different times during the autumn, meaning I got to enjoy some holiday reading last month from Canadian bloggers. In reading a post on the igNation blog by the Jesuits of English Canada, I came across this wonderful quote by Fr. Brian Massie, SJ: “You can’t be grateful and be selfish or mean at the same time; there is no room in your heart. If you are truly grateful for […]

Grateful for the Annoyances

Years ago, I came across a greeting card with a quotation attributed to Anton Chekhov: “Any idiot can face a crisis; it’s this day-to-day living that wears you out.” At the risk of sounding like a pessimist, this quotation resonates with me. Sometimes, life seems like one big series of trivial annoyances. I drop my empty coffee mug into the wet gutter as I get out of the car. My son leaves his lunchbox at […]

Three Elements of Expressing Gratitude

With Thanksgiving approaching, it might be good to take the time to look at gratitude from St. Ignatius’s perspective. Gratitude is often diluted—a word we hear in passing that has lost its depth. Every Thanksgiving before dinner my family goes around the table and each person names something they’ve been thankful for in the past year. It’s a nice way to start a meal. It even becomes a prayer of sorts, but would Ignatius expect […]

Eucharistic Thanksgiving

This month we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. Eucharist means “thanksgiving,” and in the liturgy, we as a community express thanks at many levels. For example, in the Gloria we offer a song of praise that not only thanks God for taking away sin, but also adores God’s own being. An especially striking aspect of thanksgiving at the Mass is the constant, generous, mutual exchange between God and us during the Liturgy of the […]

A Litany of Gifts

I love Thanksgiving.  It’s less hectic than Christmas, and it’s mainly about enjoying family and friends (food too, of course).  A few years ago, the late John Kavanaugh, SJ, proposed an idea for extending the spirit of Thanksgiving through December and the new year by making a litany of gifts: A simple way to do this is to use an 8-inch by 11-inch lined piece of paper. Draw a vertical line down the middle. Each […]

Giving Thanks

We are all living the unlived lives of our parents and our culture. In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy writes, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Now we speak of dysfunctional families. We’re wounded by our beginnings, even if we just had a “good-enough father” when we wanted a perfect father. But could it be a necessary wounding? –from On the Threshold of Transformation by Richard Rohr I remember […]