One boy was a hope-filled optimist. "Everything is coming up roses!" he would say. The other twin was a sad and hopeless pessimist. He thought that Murphy – as in Murphy's Law (Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong) – was an optimist!
The worried parents of the boys went to consult a child psychologist. The psychologist suggested a plan to balance each twin’s disposition, to keep both of them from over-reacting. Force the pessimist into admitting that he has reasons to be optimistic; and force the optimist into admitting that life isn’t all rainbows and sunshine.
The psychologist told the Parents: "On their next birthday, put each twin in a separate room to open his gifts. Give the pessimist the best toys you can afford, and give the optimist a box of manure."
The birthday came, and the parents followed the instructions, and carefully observed the results.
When they peeked in on the pessimist, they heard him complaining, "I don't like the color of this new computer... I'll bet this video game will break on me in a week ... I don't understand how to put this new bicycle together ... I know my friend Jimmy has a cooler wristwatch than this one... ."
Tiptoeing across the hallway, the parents peeked in on their little optimist and his gift box of manure. He was gleefully throwing the manure up in the air. He was giggling and deliriously happy! When he noticed his parents peeking on him, he jumped up and ran over to them, hugging and kissing them, and shouted, "Thank you, thank you, thank you! You can't fool me! Where's my new pony?!”
Some Catholics attend Holy Mass on Thanksgiving Morning to worship the Lord. I wish many more Catholics would attend Mass on Thanksgiving. Nonetheless, the Catholics who do attend Thanksgiving Mass do it because of their disposition.
A disposition like the optimistic boy's – a disposition of gratitude.
- Gratitude like the Samaritan freed from leprosy had toward Our Lord Jesus, as reported in Luke 17:11-19.
- Gratitude like Sirach spoke to us about in Sirach 50:22-24: "And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth... May He grant you joy of heart and may peace abide among you."
- Gratitude like Saint Paul wrote about in his First Letter to the Corinthians [1 Corinthians 1:3-9]: “I continually thank my God for you, because of the favor He has bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, in whom you have been richly endowed with every gift of speech and knowledge.”
- We thank Our Lord for our health, our food, our houses and income;
- We thank Our Lord for being alive today, in this challenging era;
- We thank Our Lord for being chosen as a member of His Church now, in these exciting times;
- We thank Our Lord for having been blessed with grace in so many ways, including the blessings that have come to us through very special persons we have known in our lives – persons who have literally helped us change our lives more meaningfully in Christian discipleship;
- Thanksgiving Day is a day for clearly and sincerely counting our blessings.
- Thanksgiving Day is a spiritual holiday, a dramatic reminder that America's roots are planted in religious attitudes.
- Thanksgiving Day reminds us that our Founding Mothers and Founding Fathers were intensely aware of God's presence and of God's provident goodness to us.
The Lord Jesus and Saint Paul and Sirach all remind us that our dispositions should mirror our Founding Parents' dispositions.
With them, and with one another, let’s create a pause in Thanksgiving Day's activities. A pause: to offer grateful praise to our Loving God, Who -- through His Loving Son -- told the grateful Samaritan healed of the leprosy, “Stand up and go your way. Your FAITH has been your salvation.”
May we all create a pause in silence on Thanksgiving Day, to offer grateful praise to our Loving God, Who -- as the traditional hymn sings -- "Has blessed us on our way, with countless gifts of love, And still is ours today."