The meaning of thanksgiving - Catholic Courier

The meaning of thanksgiving


(noun) defined as:

1: the act of giving thanks

What acts can we perform to give thanks? Saying "thank you" to someone or writing them a note seems trivial. To me, our acts of doing for our neighbor as we would want them to do for us, such as the recent example of national charity to victims of Hurricane Sandy, is giving thanks. For it is in giving that we receive, and only in receiving that we are able to give thanks.

2: a prayer expressing gratitude

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

Lord, we thank you
for the goodness of our people
and for the spirit of justice
that fills this nation.
We thank you for the beauty and fullness of the
land and the challenge of the cities.

We thank you for our work and our rest,
for one another, and for our homes.
We thank you, Lord:
accept our thanksgiving on this day.
We pray and give thanks through Jesus Christ our Lord.


—from Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers

3: a public acknowledgment or celebration of divine goodness

The word Eucharist (from the Greek noun eucharistia) means "thanksgiving." Jesus gave thanks before breaking bread at the table of the Last Supper and we are giving thanks every time we celebrate the Eucharist at Mass. We should start our Thanksgiving Day with the public acknowledgment and celebration of divine goodness by attending Mass. It isn’t a holy day of obligation, but perhaps just as important. The traditional Thanksgiving celebration of enjoying a plentiful meal should be shared with friends, family and loved ones with a focus on that communion and less of an emphasis on the sloth and gluttony that also often accompany the day (or the greed that accompanies the day after).

A blessed and happy Thanksgiving Day to you all!

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