Thanks, Praise, Grace on Thanksgiving Day

A Deep Thanksgiving to all on this day of Praise in this time of concern and sorrow.

“And for all this, nature is never spent; There lives the dearest freshness deep down things” – Gerard Manley Hopkins. Seedlings sprout from cut logs. Photo by Eilis Garvey on Unsplash

As we saw in yesterday’s meditation, to be human is to praise.  To praise is to recognize the goodness in things and to respond with gratitude. The Via Positiva is all about praise.  Julian of Norwich says, “God is the goodness in nature.”

There is great goodness in nature.  After all, a 13.8-billion-year journey of the universe brought us here to this special planet with its often breathtaking beauty that arouses such awe and wonder. Praise is a healthy response to such news of love.  Thanks follows.

Putting the Webb Telescope into the sky feeding back to us the history of the universe and the beauty contained therein is a particular act of Praise. 

Gathering of loved ones at Thanksgiving. Photo by Monstera Production on Pexels.

It is a Thank You for our being here and an assertion of our gifts as humans to discern the story of the universe and to devise an instrument and find the exact place in the sky millions of miles away in which to position it.  

Our intellects deserve praise too—when they are used for good purposes.    

With Rafael Jesus Garcia’s permission, I share his poem on Thanksgiving.

Thanks & blessing be
to the Sun & the Earth
for this bread & this wine,
     this fruit, this meat, this salt,
           this food;
thanks be & blessing to them
who prepare it, who serve it;
thanks & blessing to them
who share it
(& also the absent & the dead.)

Grocery chef preparing food. Photo by Grab on Unsplash

Thanks & blessing to them who bring it
     (may they not want),
to them who plant & tend it,
harvest & gather it
     (may they not want);
thanks & blessing to them who work
     & blessing to them who cannot;
may they not want — for their hunger
     sours the wine
         & robs the salt of its taste.
Thanks be for the sustenance & strength
for our dance & the work of justice, of peace.*

*© Rafael Jesús González 2023.  The Montserrat Review, Issue 6, Spring 2003; nominated for the Hobblestock Peace Poetry Award; author’s copyright. Printed with permission.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic…and Beyond, pp. 20-33.

Also see Fox, In the Beginning There Was Joy: A Cosmic Celebration for Kids of All Ages

Banner Image: The Webb Telescope captures a Wolf-Rayet star just before it goes supernova. Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Webb ERO Production Team

Queries for Contemplation

How do human ingenuity and intellect, the Webb Telescope and Rafael Gonzalez’ poem on “Grace”, speak to you this Thanksgiving Day, 2023?

Recommended Reading

Julian of Norwich: Wisdom in a Time of Pandemic–and Beyond

Julian of Norwich lived through the dreadful bubonic plague that killed close to 50% of Europeans. Being an anchoress, she ‘sheltered in place’ and developed a deep wisdom that she shared in her book, Showings, which was the first book in English by a woman. A theologian way ahead of her time, Julian develops a feminist understanding of God as mother at the heart of nature’s goodness. Fox shares her teachings in this powerful and timely and inspiring book.
“What an utterly magnificent book. The work of Julian of Norwich, lovingly supported by the genius of Matthew Fox, is a roadmap into the heart of the eco-spiritual truth that all life breathes together.”  –Caroline Myss
Now also available as an audiobook HERE.

In the Beginning There Was Joy: A Cosmic Celebration for Kids of All Ages

The first book in the Father Fox’s Fantastical Fables series tells the story of the big bang and how humans fit into the awesome, fantastical, cosmic picture! In this full-color, beautifully illustrated book, world- renowned theologian Matthew Fox weaves together modern science and classic spirituality in a whimsical, entertaining format to illustrate important truths to readers aged 4 and up. With artwork curated from illustrators around the world, this book expresses the joy and wonder of all peoples and cultures, planting seeds of respect, cooperation and hope to work together for the healing of our planet.
Receive a 20% discount when you buy this and one other book from Matthew Fox’s store! Use Promo Code 20% at checkout.

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3 thoughts on “Thanks, Praise, Grace on Thanksgiving Day”

  1. Avatar

    The poem “Grace” beautifully expresses our gratitude for All our sisters and brothers, our beautiful Sacred Mother Earth & all Her living creatures and graceful abundance. We’re also grateful for All our human~Divine Natures/Eternal Souls within our Loving Source~Co-Creator who Unites Us in Loving Evolving Diverse Oneness in our Sacred multidimensional-multiverse
    Cosmos in the Sacred Process of the Eternal Present Moment….

  2. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    “How do human ingenuity and intellect, the Webb Telescope and Rafael Gonzalez’ poem on “Grace”, speak to you this Thanksgiving Day, 2023?” The human intellect; with human ingenuity made the Webb telescope which has shown us the beauty and majesty of the cosmos. Whereas human poetry comes from the heart in thanksgiving. To be fully human is to find the balance of the head and the heart…
    Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Matthew !!!

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