Recently I went into my favorite store (The Dollar Store) and although I was looking for some Thanksgiving items, I was bombarded by all the Christmas stuff. Believe it or not, we are still in the month of November, a time of All Saints, All Souls, and THANKSGIVING. Don’t let these present moments pass you by because of all the holiday hype -- and by “holiday,” I don’t mean Thanksgiving! Somehow, we are missing a great opportunity to celebrate our gratitude for all things good.
With all of that said, let me just share with you the greatness of these last few days. Monday, Veterans Day, I had the privilege to offer the prayers at the St. James (NY) Veteran’s Day Parade. Right before it, I was at Mass and Fr. Patrick said something that started me thinking in a totally different way about our saints. After remembering to honor the veterans, he said, “You know, St. Martin of Tours is a veteran as well.” He then reminded us that all of our saints were, you might say, fighting and keeping our faith alive. Tuesday we had St. Josaphat and today St. Francis Xavier Cabrini. These saints, in their own way, were veterans who believed in an ideal so much that they gave their lives up for the sake of our faith and keeping it alive.
I don’t know if you ever thought of saints in this way. Too often, we can become so complacent with our present day living that we forget how we have gotten to this point in our history. Just like the veterans who can be forgotten or only thought of on November 11, we can forget the example of saints who have shown us how to live and be for one another. Our saints remind us to put God as a priority, just as the veterans put our country first before their own lives. In today’s world, I think we need to stop and think about the great people whose shoulders we are standing on, be it a veteran or a saint. Do we respect and appreciate all who have gone before us? How do we become the best person that God has created us to be?
Each of us has our own path to follow and, hopefully, we can continue to be inspired by the lives of our saints. They have given us so much to be grateful for. My prayer is that we spend some time during this month to be grateful for all we have and to share that gratitude with those around us. Gratitude leads to a joyful and well-lived life. Why not start a list of all the things you are grateful for each day? The gratitude list may make small aggravations disappear. Happy All Saints Day, All Souls Day, and Veterans Day! And, may you find a Happy Thanksgiving each day!
Till next week,
Photo: Sr. T leading the prayers at the St. James, NY Veteran’s Day Parade