In many ways Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I truly value this time of gathering with family and friends to enjoy good food and good company without the commercialism of many other holidays.

I am also convinced that thanksgiving / gratitude is the foundation of the spiritual life. As Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.” It calls us out of our narcissism and challenges us to remember that we owe our well-being itself to an acknowledgement that our limitations are being constantly enriched by others’ generosity.

Gratefulness is the foundation for the Christian life and each time we celebrate the Eucharist — our thanksgiving — we call to mind the unmerited outpouring of God’s love to us in Jesus Christ. The opening prayer for Mass on this day expresses well the deeper meaning of the holiday:

Father 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 your gifts in loving service.

May we all acknowledge and share God’s choicest blessings this Thanksgiving!