Do you ever wonder what the Passion of Jesus Christ was really like? A glimpse of it was present and videotaped on Nov. 24, 2013 in Argentina as radical feminists and pro-abortion forces defamed, mocked and attacked peaceful, pro-life men forming a barricade to protect their church from these vandals. Witness these brave souls endure the truly diabolical assault of their countrymen and women. For those who need evidence of evil spirits and the spiritual war that plays out in the hearts and cultures of the world every day, look no further. Click here for the full story of the malicious attack. WARNING: The video below is disturbing.
Author Vicki Burbach has a way with words in her entries on the National Catholic Register's Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction blog. Providing nuggets of wisdom from classic Catholic books, Vicki most recently was kind enough to mention and muse about her own parish, St. Peter Church, and its relationship to the restoration of the sacred and reverence for the Eucharist. Click here to read her most recent entry.
Local KMTV channel 3 led off their 10 p.m. news on Thanksgiving Day with a story about the annual Thanksgiving Dinner at St. Peter Church to feed the homeless, hungry, and lonely in our community. It was a lengthy, accurate, and moving story. See the video above (after an ad). Over 500 people in need were served a warm dinner and treated with love and respect on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 2013.
While I've been growing my beard as an act of personal penance (or perhaps your penance since you have to look at the mangy thing) as an offering during this Year of Faith and during our time of church interior renewal, who knew that the many men of the parish would start copying me, especially in this month of November? I'm touched and flattered and... Wait... What's that? My secretary has to tell me something... I see, so it's not because of me but because its No Shave November? Well, it looks like I was not the inspiration (sigh), but you might enjoy these two hilarious articles on the innate link between Catholicism and beards.
"And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him" (Lk 17:15-16).... "Then he said to him, 'Stand up and go; your faith has saved you'" (Lk 17:19).
I look back to the text. That is what it says: "Thy faith has saved thee." And the leper's faith was a faith that said thank you. Is that it? Jesus counts thanksgiving as integral in a faith that saves.
We only enter into the full life if our faith gives thanks.
Because how else do we accept his free gift of salvation if not with thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever he gives. Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to his grace.
Thanksgiving is inherent to a true salvation experience; thanksgiving is necessary to live the well, whole, fullest life.
"If the Church is in Christ, its initial act is always an act of thanksgiving, of returning the world to God," writes Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann. If I am truly in Christ, mustn't my initial act, too, always be an act of thanksgiving, returning to Jesus with thanks on the lips?
I would read it much later in the pages of the Psalms, at the close of a Communion service as the bread and the wine were returned to the table, the Farmer handing his Bible over to me, his finger holding the verse for me to see because he had just read it there, what I had been saying, living, believing, and the chin would quiver before I'd brim at the way God shows his salvation: "He who sacrifices thank offerings honors me, and he prepares the way so that I may show him the salvation of God" (Ps 50:23 NIV).
Thanksgiving - giving thanks in everything - prepares the way that God might show us his fullest salvation in Christ.