Posted by: Thomas Richard | November 24, 2011

Thanks, on this Thanksgiving Day

Today is Thanksgiving Day, 2011. This is a troubling time for me, in many ways, as I see what is happening around the world. Western civilization was built on a foundation of “common sense” – the philosophical realism and natural moral law that were made clear and specific in Judeo-Christian revelation. Today, I see such a poverty of that common sense – today, such irrationality and amorality, such cultural insanity. The phrase “suicide of the West” is now often applied to this tragic movement in our culture. These are dark times.

But God is not finished yet with His work: a world-wide work bigger than the West, reaching to all the peoples and cultures and lands He created with His intention of eternal ends and purposes. These are dark times, but Son-rise is coming.

A beautiful sign of the coming daybreak is the New Evangelization called for by Blessed John Paul II and now recalled by Pope Benedict XVI. This morning in Zenit’s daily email of relevant Catholic news, we find a report of a “Europe and the New Evangelization” seminar held Tuesday in Rome, in which Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization, said this: the new evangelization is necessary to respond to the anthropological, ethical and social crisis caused by the neglect of God. Yes, this is the problem simply said: the neglect of God, the “practical atheism” that permeates our modern world. The West chooses to live “as though God does not exist.”

So yes, this is the firm ground the West needs to recover – the reference point of all reality, the standard of all authentic morality is God and He will not be ignored forever. Nor can His Church ignore her vocation and her mission, in this pivotal time! Too many of our parishes remain in the universe of their own parochial boundaries, both in the literal and the figurative senses! The Church in the person of the Pope sees the need to reach out and live our vocation to “make disciples” – but the churches in the places of the local parishes mostly continue to look within, with internal concerns, even while the world outside staggers toward the precipice.

The Zenit article reports the call for “the enthusiasm of a faith that embraces reason is the key for a rebirth in truth and liberty of the whole world.” Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, stressed that for “baptized persons whose faith is extinguished and who are no longer practicing, the Gospel must be proclaimed with new ardor, new methods and new expressions.” The Cardinal said it is the time to rediscover the “first love,” that is “reflected in the immense love that God the Father has shown for us by giving us his Son,” because that “first love” is the force that moves the hearts and steps of so many new evangelizers: individuals, families, communities, ecclesial movements.

On this Thanksgiving Day I cry out “Thank God!” for the simple truth that He continues to speak through His Church. Are we listening? Are we hearing? Are we responding? It is clear to me that the parishes in America had better get their priorities rightly ordered, and soon, while there is still time. The enemy of souls is not sleeping, and he is forming and placing his workers even now to advance his dark agenda. Is the Church awake? Is the Church aware of the forces at work in the world, in this country, in our cities and towns, in our children?

Thank you, God! You will bring about your Kingdom, whether with us or in spite of us. Give us the grace to be gatherers into life with you, even in the midst of the dividing and the scattering that is taking root deeply all around us. Thy Kingdom come.


  1. Dear Doctor Richard,

    I was encouraged by segments of Arch Bishop Dolan speech to the American Conference Of Bishops which aired on EWTN. And, there are those who have excellent Catholic web sites encouraging us to become more spiritual and less worldly.

    Thank you for your on-line Renew the Church Blog.


  2. Dear Thomas,

    How very much we owe “Thanks” to God most of all, and yet how often we are so self-absorbed, we neglect Him and all He has given to us. St. John of the Cross used the words “squanderer of grace” in describing himself. Perhaps only the saints adequately realize how much God gives and how little we give in return.

    May His Great Love and Mercy overcome our sins and weaknesses and compel us to love more. We have received so much, as persons and as Church! In the Zenit article you mentioned, I too was blessed by the words you quoted, and also by the following from Cardinal Erdo, who said:

    “…evangelization passes always and necessarily through charity lived daily,” because charity “is a sign of the presence and love of Christ.”

    “In the call to the new evangelization,” Cardinal Erdõ concluded, “Christians are challenged by Jesus and the Church and also by the cry of persons seeking meaning for their life, to commit themselves to bring relief to all those suffering in soul and body.”

    By God’s Grace, may we live the Eucharist (Thanksgiving) we receive.

  3. Amen. And may we also remember that the little things are important, too. They make a difference. Thank you, Lord, for my faith. Thank you, for the Eucharist. Thank you, for all the work that so many of the faithful continue to do in your Mighty Name! May they inspire us to take courage and do the same. It is a fight….but, with Christ all things are possible.

  4. So well said. This is what I have observed in my year back in the church,
    I do not see the church actively evangelizing. I want so much to do this myself
    and thanks to you Thomas I am learning.
    God bless you and Debra for your devotion to sharing with us

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