Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, November 25, 2010
[ in the United States of America, Thanksgiving Day ]
Forever on Thanksgiving Day
The heart will find the pathway home.
~Wilbur D. Nesbit
I must have read 100 quotes about Thanksgiving. This one spoke to me.
“The heart will find it’s pathway home.”
I have spent my Life, since the age of 19, anchored in the Christian Eucharist. The “Holy Eucharist” is the central act of worship of the Christian Church. The Bible (at least John’s Gospel) records that Jesus called his disciples together on the night before He died, to celebrate the Passover together – that profound meal recalling the fleeing of Israel from slavery into Freedom. In a Mystery incomprehensible to human Reason, but not at all to human intuition, Jesus tells His followers that, if they “eat His Body and drink His Blood”, they will find “eternal Life”.
Look at it symbolically. Jesus was saying to them: “Share this symbolic meal, and in doing so, you will “find the pathway home”.
And what is that? What is that Pathway? Simply put, it is – according to the Gospel – the path of Love. That Path, once entered upon, becomes the Journey of a lifetime. It leads humanity – you and me - “Home”.
I have thought today about the Path to Home. About the path as Thanksgiving. And it make sense. I offer Thanks for Service, which my life as a priest has been, like it or not; my vocation has guided me away from myself and towards caring about others; it redeemed my selfish nature. I offer Thanks for all the searching human beings I have met; they have illuminated for me this shaky path we are all traveling – and reminded me how much we depend on each other. I offer Thanks for “spiritual” leaders, people of Simplicity and Peace and Laughter, who have reminded me to make Wonder the heart of Living. I offer Thanks for “those instances in which our assured judgment has been proved wrong”, as Fr. James Huntington OHC said; his words have taught me to let go of things that hinder me from forging ahead with Life. I offer Thanks to Jesus that He so brilliantly spoke those parables which revealed the heart of Life. And I offer Thanks for Friends – especially friends who became family; what a blessing a true friend is! I’m blessed to have many.
I am most thankful that I have been shown the “Pathway Home”. It is embracing the present moment, pouring into it everything one has, loving the World, rejoicing that I am a part of it, receiving every gift it offers in such profligacy, giving back when one can.
Today, a dear friend invited me to share in, to keep vigil at, the imminent death to this Life of his beloved mother. Of all the things I’ve most cherished as a priest, it has been the invitation to share in the moments of engaging with the Mystery of Life and Death.
No one who had anything to do with the instigation of Thanksgiving Day in American life could possibly have realized what they were setting in motion! We may think of Pilgrims and all that stuff. But all that has been transfigured into a celebration of Being Alive, and of all the things which make Life possible.
What greater blessing could we have as a human being than to help each other to Live?