Happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone in the USA!  What an honor to write my first reflection on Thanksgiving Day.

The fourth Thursday of every November is a day when America pauses to give thanks to God for all the blessings received. Our forefathers, in their great wisdom, deemed that a day be set apart from every other day, in gratitude to God for the graces received.

In my view, every day is Thanksgiving Day.  Every morning when I wake up to a new day, I give thanks to God for the blessings of life, good health, my family, a roof over my head, a comfortable bed, plenty of food in the fridge.  And the list goes on and on; with my job, my pets, my parish, my friends, my boss and co-workers, my car, and for being able to live freely in this great nation!

Today, especially, I would like to remind everyone to be grateful to God for all the blessings and good fortune in their lives, and even for the difficulties we face.  Oftentimes, people prefer to wallow in their trials and tribulations – often seeing only the negative but ignoring all the positive aspects of their lives.

When we partake of the big thanksgiving feast today, start with a prayer of thanksgiving to God, and remember to include those who are less fortunate (homeless, hungry, downtrodden and alone). Of course, we should be grateful for every meal we partake of, remembering those who have no food for the day.

As in today’s Responsorial Psalm, “Blessed are they who are called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.”

Enter his gates with thanksgiving,

His courts with praise;

Give thanks to him; bless his name

Besides verbally giving thanks to God, what else can we do to express our gratitude?

When we reach out to the homeless on the street and maybe provide them with a hot meal, we make Jesus happy.  When we visit an elderly person who lives alone, we bring Christ’s love to them.  When we donate to a homeless shelter, we are able to care for a whole lot of people who don’t have resources.  Even a gentle smile to a store clerk can bring much joy to the person.  We can bring the light of Christ to people in various little ways.  We don’t do this to be recognized in the local paper or to receive awards.  We do this because God has been bountiful and generous to us and we want to share what we have with those who are less fortunate.

And when we do these little acts of kindness, WE are the ones who feel blessed!  It makes us appreciate all the more everything that we have.  And a grateful heart, is a loving heart.

And don’t forget to love those closest to you, which we sometimes forget in our zeal to take care of the whole village!

Wishing you abundant blessings and joys, today, and all year through!

Arlene Braganza

Arlene Braganza

Arlene Braganza is a life-long Catholic who was born and raised in Bahrain and now resides in California. She has been married for over 35 years and has one married daughter living in Los Angeles and a son living in New York. She works as an Office Manager for a busy CPA firm (31 years and counting) and tries to make it to Daily Mass even during the stressful tax season.

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