A THANKFUL SOCIETY LEADS TO A MORAL SOCIETY
In his letter to the Romans 1:21-32, St. Paul begins his evangelization by giving thanks to God and then provides a clear bullet list of what happens when society does not honor or give thanks to God:
For although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them.
2000 years later we see the more things change, the more things stay the same. Romans 1 is today’s news headlines and as Dr. Scott Hahn pointed out in his commentary on this passage, when a society embraces these evils, it is not in its final years or days, but its final hours. And we see this with society's complete eclipse of understanding what it simply means to be human. This is why Fulton Sheen described that the heart of the new evangelization is going to be "anthropological" ( a renewed "study of man") where God will be discovered by dealing with the disorder within man because of all the lies it has swallowed.
Thanksgiving takes us out of our self-centered disorders because we acknowledge that there is someone to thank for who we are and what we have. This is why this Thanksgiving needs to have a renewed significance for us Catholics because we have all that we need from God to bring this world back to Him . . . and it begins with each of us and our families returning to a dynamic spiritual and apostolic life flowing from and oriented to the Eucharist. As St. Pio of Pietrelcina said: “It is easier for the earth to live without the sun, than the soul to live without the Eucharist.”
So, what can we begin to do right now to live a renewed life of Thanksgiving in the Eucharist?
First, get back to Mass if you haven’t been going. Begin this Thanksgiving by going to Mass as a family.
Second, pick at least one day outside of Sunday and go to Mass as a family. Let our kids know that the Eucharist has importance outside of one hour on Sunday.
Third, teach your kids a daily rhythm of giving thanks to God — three times a day with just a minute or two pause each time. I recommend once in the morning, once in the middle of the day and once before they go to bed. The greatest habit that we can teach our kids that will open the door to every other grace and virtue is enkindling in them a spirit of gratitude toward God. Just imagine this spiritual and emotional climate in your home as this is often the greatest battle with our children who are bombarded with the world’s spirit of entitlement and self-centeredness. This exercise alone can work miracles in our families — especially among spouses when we live this spirit of gratitude for what each brings to the marriage and family.
I close this reflection with the wisdom of our second president, John Adams, who said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other” (John Adams to Massachusetts Militia, 11 October 1798). We have neglected these two things far too long and now we are battling this very hour for America’s soul. The “Good News” is that we Catholics hold the key to make America the greatest moral and religious people — and it is hidden in the message of our national holiday, Thanksgiving (Eucharist). If we didn’t make this connection before, now we have. Let’s share this secret with the world. This is how we will win the culture war and win the soul of America back to God. If we win this battle, America’s greatest days are ahead.
Final Part Coming Tomorrow . . .
Blessings to all this Thanksgiving!