Remember this November…
November is a month of remembering. First, we remember the Saints, the men and women who have been faithful in living the Gospel teachings of Jesus Christ. These are the men and women of the Beatitudes, people who lived out the command of Jesus “to love one another as I have loved you,” and “whatever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters you did it to me.” These Saints are people like us who struggled with the demands of daily life. They experienced pain, suffering, problems, fear, frustrations, confusion, and yes even death. Yet, they were steadfast in their faith. Thus, they serve as a model for us on what it means to be a disciple of Christ. They model hope, courage, and love.
Second, we remember all our faithful departed. The Church celebrates All Saints and All Souls side by side because it reminds us that there is hope for every believer. Where the Saints are, we will follow. God has destined all of us for heaven. As Jesus says in the Gospel of John, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God, have faith also in Me. In my Father’s house there are many rooms. I will prepare a place for you so that where I am going you also may be.” These words of Jesus are filled with hope. They are words of love. They are words that reminds us of the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans, “No one can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, not even death.”
Thirdly, we remember our Veterans, the men and women who served our nation. We thank them for their dedicated service. This day helps us focus on the important purpose of this holiday – to celebrate and honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Fourthly, we celebrate Thanksgiving – a day to pause and give thanks for the many blessings that God has given us. This beautiful holiday is more than turkey or shopping. It is about recognizing the goodness of God. It is about cultivating a grateful heart. Henri Nouwen once said: To be grateful for the good things that happen in our lives is easy, but to be grateful for all of our lives, the good as well as the bad, the moments of joy as well as the moments of sorrow, the successes as well as the failures, the rewards as well as the rejections – that requires hard spiritual work. Perhaps this Thanksgiving, as we sit around our dinner table, let us pause and remember ALL of our lives, the good and the bad alike. In doing so, we come to know that God is always there for us and with us.
In Jewish mindset, to remember is to make something present. Remembering the saints, the faithful departed, the veterans, and our lives, make us truly grateful people and will help us instill the true spirit of Thanksgiving. This November, let us remember all of our lives and say, “Thank You!”