THANKSGIVING HOMILY: Love Makes Us Be. Called to be a People of Thanksgiving
Chiara Lubich was the beloved foundress of the Focolare movement
Yes, love makes us be. We exist because we love. If we don't love, and every time we don't love, we are not, we do not exist. There's nothing left to do but to love, without holding back.
The famous Thanksgiving of Norman Rockwell
CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - Thanksgiving brings us together as a Nation. In the rich tapestry of our diversity we rediscover our unity in the values which inform and ground the American experiment in ordered liberty.
Many Catholics will participate in the Liturgy and hear the Gospel chosen for this day from St. Luke (Luke 17:11-19); the familiar story of the ten lepers who were miraculously healed by Jesus during his journey to Jerusalem. Only one came back to give thanks. The challenge leaps forth - are we that one?
Our celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy is always a call to return to the source of every gift, the God who gave Himself for us. It is the invitation to give thanks which gathers us as families around the dinner table today. We will tell stories of our past and toast the hopes for our future. Although a "secular" holiday, the celebration is profoundly religious at its core. Even in the midst of the struggles we have face in the United States, we really do need to stop and give thanks! We are a truly blessed people.
Once again this year, we have traveled to the home of one of our five grown children. We stopped hosting the celebration a few years ago. I am having quite a response emotionally, thinking about all of our children, grandchildren and all of these years of God's goodness. I suppose I am just feeling a bit sentimental. It is a prerogative of aging, so bear with me. When we strip away everything, it really all just comes down to love.
Chiara Lubich was the beloved foundress of the Focolare movement, one of a growing number of ecclesial movements flourishing within the Catholic Church. The modern Pope's have called these predominantly lay movements the "finger of God" for this new missionary age. They are what Blessed John Paul II and his successor, our beloved Pope Benedict XVI call the "signs of a springtime of world missions."
Chiara was born on January 22, 1920 and went home to the Lord on March 14, 2008. Those who knew her say that she lived her life animated by love and in a constant attitude of thanksgiving. Inspired by her heroic virtue, men and women were drawn closer to Jesus Christ and, in Him, into a deep relationship with one another to continue the redemptive mission of Jesus. This movement spread to more than 180 countries and had 140,000 members and 2.1 million affiliates at the time of her death. She was 88 years young, still in love with Jesus and filled with joy.
It was Chiara's intimate relationship with the Lord which gave her the grace to love as He loves. It was also the source of her continual gratitude. It can be just that way with each one of us. That is really what this Holiday invites us to consider. A readiness to give thanks in all circumstances - and for everything and everyone - is a sign of holiness in the lives of so many of the great saints and heroes of the Christian tradition.
On this Thanksgiving Day I want to share a few of Chiara's words as a reflection: "Yes, love makes us be. We exist because we love. If we don't love, and every time we don't love, we are not, we do not exist. There's nothing left to do but to love, without holding back. Only in this way will God give himself to us and with him will come the fullness of his gifts.
"Let us give concretely to those around us, knowing that by giving to them we are giving to God. Let's give always; let's give a smile, let's offer understanding, and forgiveness. Let's listen, let's share our knowledge, our availability; let's give our time, our talents, our ideas, our work; let's give our experience, our skills; let's share our goods with others so that we don't accumulate things and everything circulates.
"Our giving opens the hands of God and He, in his providence, fills us with such an abundance that we can give again, and give more, and then receive again, and in this way we can meet the immense needs of many."
This beautifully simple yet profound truth was also regularly expressed by Blessed John Paul II. In his 1979 Encyclical Letter "The Redeemer of Man" he put it this way:
"Man cannot live without love. He remains a being that is incomprehensible for himself, his life is senseless, if love is not revealed to him, if he does not encounter love, if he does not experience it and make it his own, if he does not participate intimately in it. This, as has already been said, is why Christ the Redeemer "fully reveals man to himself". If we may use the expression, this is the human dimension of the mystery of the Redemption. In this dimension man finds again the greatness, dignity and value that belong to his humanity. In the mystery of the Redemption man becomes newly "expressed" and, in a way, is newly created." (Par. 10)
The Feast we celebrate in the "secular" arena today, Thanksgiving Day, reveals that there really is no separation between the secular and the ...
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Year of Faith News
- We Need a New Pentecost: Come Holy Spirit, Come With Your Fire!
- FRIDAY HOMILY: Follow Me
- THURSDAY HOMILY: Father, May they Be One. Do We Pray and Work for Christian Unity?
- WEDNESDAY HOMILY: The Holy Spirit Coaches our Interior to Fight
- TUESDAY HOMILY: The Response of Faith to Scandalous Infidelity
- Toward Pentecost: St Cyril of Jerusalem on The Living Water of the Holy Spirit
- MONDAY HOMILY: Take courage, I have overcome the world
- SUNDAY HOMILY: The Happy Priest - A Reflection on Motherhood
- Your Grief Will Become Joy. Living Gospel Joy in the Real World
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?