What got me onto “Googling” was feeling so disturbed by the violent attacks in Paris as I shopped for Thanksgiving cards. I just couldn’t reconcile the two realities — my feelings about hatred begetting violence and gratitude evoking thanksgiving.
What freed me to get a few thoughts down for this reflection? A memory, a reading and a prayer … .
For years, I’ve said or thought to myself, “two things can be true at the same time.” I can’t remember where I got the words originally, but I do remember to say it often. Perhaps then I need to drop my current notion that life should be all thanksgiving and no violence, to give thanks for the peace and gratitude present in so many places on Earth. Perhaps I need to pray the Sisters of Providence Litany of Non-Violence with these realities in mind.
As for the readings, I leave that exploration to you, dear readers. Of all I read on line, one particular entry attracted me: “What Really Happened at the First Thanksgiving?”(Indian Country Media Network) This interview with a Native American woman gives content and context for the celebration of the 1621 Thanksgiving, as well as the different ways peoples of Earth show and celebrate thanksgiving, gratitude. For me, this interview was an experience of seeing through another’s eyes (and heart).
The prayer comes from the Catholic Mass celebrated on the USA’s Thanksgiving Day. On that day the celebrant will pray in our name:
Creator all powerful,
your gifts of love are countless
and your goodness infinite.
As we come before you on Thanksgiving Day
with gratitude for your kindness,
open our hearts to have concern
for every man, woman and child,
so that we may share our gifts
in loving service.
Amen! May it be so! Happy Thanksgiving!
Sister Denise Wilkinson