Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.
It’s that time of year again! How quickly it seems to have come upon us! The older I get, the faster time seems to fly. I think it is the ever-increasing awareness of the flight of time that has given me motivation to count my blessings not just during this month of Thanksgiving, but every day of every month of the year!
In most recent months, my family seems to have been bitten by the “homesteading bug” – a desire to move a bit farther out in order to plant food crops, keep bees and maybe raise some livestock. This is interesting because my husband and I were both raised in the suburbs of New Orleans, and know nothing about farm life – other that what we’ve seen in movies!
Part of the goal of homesteading is to become self-sufficient – less dependent on others for the basic necessities of life. This is not our goal, however. We feel a longing for a more simple life – a life of total dependence on God – a life of added freedom from all the noise and hustle that constantly tries to pull us away from communion with our Creator. Instead of going to the gym for fitness, we’d prefer to work the land.
In driving around looking at property, we’ve traveled to many different kinds of places. Last weekend, when we returned home from our search, we realized how good we already have it. Though our dreams and yearnings led us to think that there is something greener out there for us, what we already do have is pretty incredible. God has provided amazingly for our family every step of the way – even (and especially) when the outlook was most bleak. Trust in Him is never misplaced! His love for all of His children is so great that we can completely abandon ourselves to His care. God is Father, and God is faithful! We still may become farmers someday, but in the meantime, we are appreciating each and every day that the Lord has given us together where we dwell right now, remembering that tomorrow is not promised.
When I get up in the morning, before I even get out of bed, I say, “Thank you God for this day – another opportunity to know, love and serve you better.” That’s what today is for each of us – another opportunity to get it right!
While it is easy to thank God in the most joyous times in our lives – the births, the weddings, the graduations – but a time of trial brings gratitude to a whole new level. Do we thank God for the crosses in our lives that make us sharers in His cross? Do we offer up our sufferings for the salvation of other souls? Are we worried about the souls of others outside of our family circle, or are we just concerned with our own? Do we look upon Jesus’ body on the crucifix with a flood of gratitude for what His death and resurrection mean for us? Are we living focused on the things of this world – all we can do and acquire – or are we keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and eternal life?
I am very grateful for having grown up in and around the city of New Orleans. Here, there are Catholic churches on nearly every corner. Here, we have many wonderful priests who sacrifice their lives to administer the sacraments and lead us to Jesus. Here, we can receive The Blessed Sacrament everyday of the week if we so desire. There are still places in the world where people have to wait months for a priest to come through town in order for them receive Holy Communion. How blessed we truly are to live in a city pervaded with Catholicity! May we never take that for granted!
During this Thanksgiving season, please think of paying a visit to Jesus in one of New Orleans’ beautiful churches or adoration chapels. Sit in the stillness and silence and rest awhile before the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping begins. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) There in the tabernacle Jesus waits for us to approach Him with thankful hearts. There He waits to fill us with His grace and blessing! May God bless you and yours with a happy and holy Thanksgiving!
For a list of adoration chapels in New Orleans, please visit: