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With You Always

“With You Always”: Opening the Hands of God”

The Living Legacy of Thanksgiving
© Third Millennium,LLC

Deacon Keith A Fournier


“The poor you will always have with you; but you will not always have me” Jesus, Matthew 26:11

“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." Jesus, Matthew 28:20

“In the end, there are two kinds of poor people: those who already know they are poor and those who don't know yet.”

Brenda McCormick


Well, the turkey and leftovers are put away and the all stomachs in the Fournier home are still full from the Feast!

And a wonderful Feast it was - this unique American cultural icon called Thanksgiving. It is a rather extraordinary tradition actually.

An entire nation, in the beauty of its rich diversity and pluralism, pauses to give thanks for all of its blessings and bounty.

I had a wonderful day.

Most of our children gathered around me and my bride of twenty six years, their beautiful mother, Laurine. We bowed our heads, prayed and feasted; not only on the food, but even more wonderfully, on the bountiful gift of family relationships, on love.

Laughter and stories of childhood years filled the air. Some of them I have never heard before. I was touched by -and appropriately proud of -each of our children and immensely grateful for the bounty that the Lord has given to us.

It was also a day of reflection.

The last three years have been very difficult. Laurine and I lost both of our fathers in the same year. We started all over again professionally… . But somehow, it has all borne the fruit of a deep seeded gratitude in both of us. We know just how truly wealthy we are, and yesterday, as we feasted on the love that alone can fill the hole in every human soul.

That morning, while children at home and returning home slept in, Laurine and I went to Mass. Not only were the scripture readings and the liturgy wonderful, but the priest abbreviated his insightful homily and invited members of the somewhat small worshipping community to give thanks.

One by one, the air was filled with stories of love and expressions of gratitude –even for events that had begun as tragedy but turned into triumph. How faith in the presence of a loving and living God always transforms pain, making it redemptive and helps us to see the glass of life as half- full.

As the day came to a close, I was all alone in my home office and prayer room. Just before retiring for the evening, I checked my E-Mail.

I had received this letter from Brenda McCormick, the foundress of group of mothers in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who have gathered together to incarnate the love of God in a work called “Mothers Incorporated:


Hi Keith.

For just over 1,000 needy families (2,000 -plus children) we won!

For 2,000 families (4,000-plus children) who didn't get help this Thanksgiving the City government of Va. Beach won.

Welcome to "The Politics of Poverty." We just have one question for our government officials: How do you sleep at night?

Onward to 10,000 New Toys for 6,000 Christmas Kids!

Jesus answered "Who is my neighbor?" with the story of The Good Samaritan.

Mother Teresa answered "Who is poor?"... "Before God, we are all poor."

I say the work of, by and for the poor is easy. The poor whom we call poor already know they are poor and are willing to receive. The poor who call themselves non-poor do not know they are poor are not willing to receive.

In the end, there are two kinds of poor people: those who already know they are poor and those who don't know yet.

Here is the crisis: If the latter don't discover this before they leave this planet, they are doomed to be poor forever. What can those of us who already know we are poor do for those who don't know yet? Love them.

For me, the hardest task is to love the arrogant poor. It's like trying to love a turtle which has retreated to it's shell. It's eyes and ears- the portals to its soul-have disappeared behind its armor.

Love and Thanks and Blessings.
Brenda and Mothers everywhere
417 16th St.
Va. Beach, VA 23451


Through the “Common Good Legal Defense Fund, my law partner, John Stepanovich and I have undertaken to help Brenda in her efforts to live the gospel that she so profoundly understands.

The city “fathers and mothers”, the City of Virginia Beach, do not want “Mothers Incorporated” giving away turkeys, ...

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