As we head into the Thanksgiving break, we reflect on our feelings of gratitude while also being a bit beleaguered with fatigue and maybe some sadness. Of course, we have so much for which to be thankful: a roof over our heads, food on our table, and the love of family and friends, but none of us is immune to some occasional moments of despair over the stark changes this year has presented or the uncertainty of when we will return to normal once again.
Monsignor Dolan, our pastor emeritus, frequently speaks about nourishing an “attitude of gratitude,” and he practices what he preaches. In all things, no matter how difficult, he reminds us to always focus on the good and not on what is missing. The Jesuits, too, encourage us to think positively. The Evening Examen is one of the foundations of Ignatian prayer, calling the faithful to look for God in all things, and asking, “What more can I do for Him?”
This upcoming Sunday we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, bringing an end to the liturgical year. The feast, named “Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Regis” ([of] Our Lord Jesus Christ the King), was established in 1925 by Pope Pius XI, and was originally celebrated the last Sunday in October preceding the Feast of All Saints. In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved it to its current date – the final Sunday of the liturgical year, and he assigned to it the highest rank of solemnity. This joyous feast day, at which celebrants wear liturgical vestments of white or gold, incites in us a feeling of hope as we honor and praise Christ who is our King, not only today, but throughout all time.
A joyous celebration might be a cathartic experience for all of us right about now, which is probably why you may be noticing that your neighbors have begun putting up outdoor Christmas lights and mixing Christmas baubles with their Thanksgiving décor a bit early. Even the radio stations have begun playing holiday music. I am going to jump on the bandwagon and start decorating for Christmas this weekend as well. The lights and the ornaments are reminders of hope and happiness. These visual cues help us to focus on all that is good, and we are comforted in knowing that God still reigns as our Savior and King.
I am so very thankful to our St. Michael’s Parish and School community – our clergy, our faculty and staff, our students, our families, and our benefactors. We have all been beaten down a bit, but we are strong in our faith and in our resolve, and we know God’s gentle hand is guiding us. I wish each of you a most blessed and joyous Thanksgiving holiday with your families, and I pray that you all remain healthy in mind, body, and spirit.