Most Reverend Jerome E. Listecki
Archbishop of Milwaukee
In many ways, Thanksgiving is a reminder for all of us to count our blessings. We live at a time in our history where contention and strife occupy our attention. The politics of the nation is divisive. Many enjoy reworking their hurts, and victimology at times occupies the rationale for personal failures. We often discuss the failures of our nation, rather than the accomplishments achieved by this great democratic experiment.
Sitting down to a Thanksgiving meal, hopefully surrounded by family and friends, gives us an opportunity to offer God thanks. I have seen bumper stickers, referring to the infant inside, stating, “I’m a work in progress,” or “God’s not done with me yet.”
I admit that I am an American patriot. I am a cheerleader for our country. Certainly, we have made mistakes. It would be naive to think differently. But, I do believe that we have been blessed, and the blessings we have received can be connected to being a “people of faith.” We are a work in progress, but our progress is rooted in the faith that motivates us, and I pray that God is not done with us yet.
In his book, The American Miracle, Michael Medved writes, “That unique vision of our abiding national purpose has impressed countless observers around the world, including those with only limited connection to the United States. Shortly after the global horrors of World War II, Pope Pius XII pronounced his own benediction. “America has a genius for great and unselfish deeds,” he declared. “Into the hands of America, God has placed the destiny of an afflicted mankind” (365). In order for us to fulfill our destiny, we must be faithful to the source of our blessing.
Remember when we were kids and received that special gift from an aunt, uncle or family friend? Immediately mom would say, “Now, write them a thank you note.” The protests would immediately ensue. “But, mom! I said, ‘thank you.’” “Okay,” she replied. “Now, put it in writing to emphasize that your thanks is not superficial, but genuine.”
This Thursday, as a nation celebrating Thanksgiving Day, let us understand this day as our “thank you note” to emphasize that our gratitude to God for the gift of our country is genuine – not merely superficial, but embedded in our psyche. And, let us add our personal thanks for the multitude of blessings (faith, family and friends) that have enriched our lives. In order to fulfill the greatness of the American spirit, we pledge our help to heal afflicted mankind as we follow the Lord’s commandment to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.
Note: This blog originally appeared as the November 21, 2017 "Love One Another" email sent to Catholics throughout the Archdiocese of Milwaukee by Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki. If you are interested in signing up for these email messages, please click here.