It being Thanksgiving Eve, it seemed to me that a meditation on God who is often called the “giver of gifts” seems in order.  So I offer here two meditations taken from my recent book, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God. 

“This is our grace, to be a note/ in the exact chord that animates creation” – Jami Sieber, “Mandlovu Mind” Photographer unknown, from Pexels

In that book, working from Thomas Aquinas’ radical statement that “every being is a name for God and no being is a name for God” I propose 89 names from contemporary science and ancient wisdom that seem useful to our God talk today.  Fresh images are so needed since so much of God talk has been hijacked by crackpot religionists (including a woman I saw on CNN last night who instructed us that Donald Trump is “God’s chosen one” because God is the Sovereign and all sovereigns are God’s chosen one.)  I think some theologies need an update.

The first three names in my book are the following:
1. God is Love. 
2. God is Goodness. 
3.  Most fitting for Thanksgiving eve: God is the One to whom we give our thanks.

I will speak to the second and third here.

God is Goodness.

Julian of Norwich, statue by David Holgate FSDC in Norwich Cathedral. Photo by rocketjohn. Wikipedia Commons

Julian of Norwich tells us that “I saw that God is everything that is good and energizing…. and the goodness that everything possesses is God.”  If she is correct and all beings carry goodness, is this another way of experiencing the omnipresence of God–God as the goodness in all things?  God is the goodness within goodness.  Our experiences of goodness then constitute our experiences of God.  We need to be hunter-gatherers after goodness therefore. 

We need to become hunter-gatherers for praise.  Aquinas teaches that God “is sheer goodness” and is “the fount of all goodness” and since goodness of itself is generous, “God is supremely good and therefore supremely generous.”  Contemporary theologian David Bentley Hart who is from the Greek Orthodox tradition says “our longing for the good is an aboriginal longing for God.”

God is the One to whom we Give our Thanks.

If we are surrounded by goodness and take goodness in so as to praise it where we find it, then we are urged to give thanks for life, for existence, for the goodness tasted therein.  When Dorothy Day, an atheist and communist at the time, became pregnant she was so overcome by the beauty of bearing a new living being inside her that she converted to Christianity.  Why?  “Because I had to give thanks to someone,” she said.   God is the One to whom we render our Thanks. 

Thomas Aquinas considers gratitude to be the very essence of healthy religion: to be religious is to be thankful.  One is never half-full of thanks—one is thank-full.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Naming the Unnameable: 89 Wonderful and Useful Names for God…Including the Unnameable God, pp. 3-4.

Banner Image: Gifts of the Earth. Photo by Robert Zunikoff on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Can you experience God as “the goodness within goodness” and “the goodness that everything possesses?”  Try entering into that experience.  Does thanks emerge?  And praise for your many experiences of goodness?

Do you agree with Dorothy Day that, in spite of the darkness that life sometimes brings, you need to thank someone?  And God is the one to whom we render our thanks?

Recommended Reading

Too often, notions of God have been used as a means to control and to promote a narrow worldview.  In Naming the Unnameable, renowned theologian and author Matthew Fox ignites our imaginations by offering a colorful range of Divine Names gathered from scientists and poets and mystics past and present, inviting us to always begin where true spirituality begins: from experience.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Orvietobanner-no-EarlyBird-1024x281.png
Responses are welcomed. To add your comment, please click HERE or scroll to the bottom of the page.

Share this meditation


Daily Meditations with Matthew Fox is made possible through the generosity of donors. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation

Search Meditations





Receive our daily meditations

2 thoughts on “Eve of Thanksgiving, 2019”

    1. Gail Sofia Ransom

      Thank You, Sue,
      May you have a Thanksgiving overflowing with gratitude – for those around you and for the larger spiritual context which encompasses us all and yet we often forget. The Cosmos is as close to each of us as our next breath.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditation team

Leave a Comment

To help moderate the volume of responses, the Comment field is limited to 1500 characters (roughly 300 words), with one comment per person per day.

Please keep your comments focused on the topic of the day's Meditation.

As always, we look forward to your comments!!
The Daily Meditation Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join us in meditation that supports your compassionate action

Receive Matthew Fox's Daily Meditation by subscribing below: