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James Martin, S.J.November 25, 2020
Photo by Joseph Gonzalez on Unsplash

God Almighty, this has been a terrible year.

So much death. So much illness. So much misery, all around the world, for every human being. I can hardly believe it. And I certainly don’t understand it.

It breaks my heart to think of how many people have lost family members, spent hours worried about sick friends in the hospital, not been able to attend funerals, been laid off from their jobs, seen their businesses closed and agonized over whether to send their children to school or not. Sometimes the only prayer I can say is the prayer of the psalmist: “How long, O Lord?”

And now it’s Thanksgiving, when I’m supposed to be thankful. How, O Lord?

Maybe the only prayer I can utter this Thanksgiving is: Teach me to be grateful.

Teach me to be grateful for what I still have. Help me to see where you are blessing me, even in the midst of this pandemic. Give me a new pair of eyes, so I can more clearly see your grace:

Let me see the generosity of health care workers on the front lines as a sign of your love.

Let me see the care that I have for my family as a sign of your compassion within me.

Let me see my sadness over the virus as a sign of your sorrow for those who suffer.

Jesus entered a world of illness, suffering and death, so he understands what we are going through—not only because he is divine and knows all things, but because he is human and experienced all things.

Help me to give other people something to be thankful for:

By being generous to them when I am sad.

By being patient with them when I am tired.

By encouraging them when I am feeling low.

Most of all, draw me closer to your Son. During his time on earth, Jesus saw people who were hungry, visited people who were sick and wept over the death of his friend Lazarus. He entered a world of illness, suffering and death, so he understands what we are going through—not only because he is divine and knows all things, but because he is human and experienced all things.

So on Thanksgiving this year, teach me to be thankful, Almighty God.

And one more thing, God:

Hurry up with those vaccines.

Please.

Amen.

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