The Brothers will gather around the table on Thanksgiving Day. The food set before us will be no more and no different than any other day. The table grace will be the grace said before each evening meal ..and in one voice, the Brothers will pray …”Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
That afternoon, we and some of the children of the nearby school will have taken to the streets and delivered Thanksgiving meals to the homeless. We will set up our portable food tables and the poor will come and have feast of turkey, dressing, potatoes, green beans, and rolls, all served on paper plates. After all have been served, the children will hand to each of our guests, a paper box. In the box will be a napkin, a plastic fork and a generous slice of pie. And when the children hand that homeless person his paper box, the children are instructed – as are we when we serve the meal – to say, “Thank you for coming to this our Lord’s Feast.
But on Thanksgiving Day in Greyfriars’ Abbey, the evening meal will be the same as all other evening meals … for each and ever meal we understand to a time for thanksgiving. And like every other day, we will pray together ..”Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
In the Biblical history, the act of thanksgiving was always an act of offering, an act of sacrificing, an act of giving! It was not a feast of consumption and overindulgence … those festivities took place at weddings and harvest festivals … but the “giving of thanks” … focused on the giving – or to put it in the spirit of Christ and the Benedictine Brothers … thanksgiving focused on the act of sharing. And when we share our meal in the streets … I have found that the spirit of thanksgiving is deeper, more profound, something that comes from the hungry heart.”Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.”
My Loved Ones, in the ordinary moments of our ordinary days as we live through our years, are we truly, sincerely, authentically overwhelmed with a spirit of thanksgiving? I mean the spirit of thanksgiving that is found in a thirsty soul receiving a cup of cool water, or a hungry soul receiving a simple meal, or a dying soul receiving yet one more sunrise before the final sunset. No, Thanksgiving Day – as wonderful as it is – was not established by the ancient Church. And that might seem strange! But in the Christian appreciation of life each and every day was to be a celebration of thanks-giving – not merely confined to one.
So this Thanksgiving Day the Brothers will once more pray …”Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.” But then again, they pray this prayer each and every day.
Brother Anthony of the Cross