A Different Kind of Thanksgiving
Most of us probably didn’t spend last Thanksgiving with our family and if we did maybe it was not the whole family. But this past year and a half has taught us all a little more about being thankful for our loved ones. As we gather together this year, let it be a different kind of Thanksgiving.
We are getting close to the wonderful seasons of giving; what is a better gift than forgiving someone and yourself? I often say I forgive others but I can't say I really ever forgive myself. But forgiving others is not easy. It’s very easy for us to “forgive” by forgetting and never engaging with that person again, but that's not truly forgiving them, and that is not how Christ forgives us! We hear in the Our Father, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us". What does He mean by this? If we want to be forgiven then we need to forgive others, simple.
Merciful forgiveness is the mercy that we show to others and the mercy that we ourselves seek- it is indivisible. If we ourselves are not merciful and do not forgive one another, God's mercy will not reach our hearts [CCC 2838-2845, 2862].
So if we want God's mercy, which we all need, then we need to forgive and show the same mercy He shows us to others.
"Be merciful, even as you Father is merciful.” Luke 6:36
We have to remember that we are all sinners, and in that mind remember that we too must forgive ourselves. More importantly, we must ask forgiveness from God. God will forgive us as long as we turn to Him and ask for it. But we also have to believe in His forgiveness and as He forgives us we need to go show it and forgive others. This is probably one of the hardest things to do, and sometimes it takes us to admit we were wrong. But if we truly want to forgive ourselves, we must forgive others. As long as we hold on to this we will not distant ourselves from God and those around us.
As Catholics, let us be thankful for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If you are like myself sometimes we take this for granted. There is no better way to thank God for His love and mercy than reconciling our relationship with Him. My challenge to all of us is that between now and Thanksgiving we visit the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In a time where we will be surrounded by family and friends and sharing in the Thanksgiving of life and health, we should also be thankful for a merciful God!