On this day when this great nation pauses to give thanks to the Almighty for our blessings, I am inclined to do the same and reflect upon my reasons to "give thanks". In random order except for the most important "first things".
My heart is filled with joy when I reflect upon the faith which has been shared with me by family and friends. It is a faith brought to me by the Church, not as organization but as family, as a pilgrim people, as the saints of God sharing their experiences and encounters with God. It is the revelation of a living God, a Supreme Being who is as we saw on Sunday the King of the Universe as well as being personal and intimate, a friend and a brother, whose heart has been poured out for me and all creation in a love that is creative and life giving. I give thanks for a God who knows me, by name, in my strengths and weaknesses, and whose love for me is everything.
I give thanks for the Church of which I am a part, a Church that welcomes me through the waters of baptism into the family, who feeds me at our Eucharistic Table, who inspires me with Scripture and teaching, who encourages and challenges, who reconciles me with my brothers and sisters and with the Almighty and who offers restoration and hope, and who shows me the way to live and the way to reach the mountain of God.
I give thanks for the gift of priesthood, for the call to serve and the encouragement and support to follow that call. I am grateful for the forty one years plus of ministry and blessing, for the countless people whose lives I have touched and the many whom I have been honored to serve. I thank God for faithful and loving friends who hold me in their hearts. One of our priests, when you ask him how he is, answers "Better than I deserve". That is how I feel about the people that have touched my life.
I give thanks for my family, Mom and Dad especially who laid the foundation of my life (may they enjoy the happiness of Heaven) and Janie, my sister and best friend, who is the description of loyalty and love. And of course, Sammy, Janie's pup, who brings uncle Len a lot of happiness and kisses. Family and friends, parishes and Church, challenges and blessings are all the component of what makes me who I am. They are a gift from God. They are a major reason why I give thanks today.