Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Homily for November 24th, 2016. Thanksgiving Day.

          On this Thanksgiving Day I’d like to tell you about something the Lord moved me to do on my 13th birthday, in May 1941. It has been a source of great blessing to me ever since. I visited the chapel of the small and very spartan Connecticut boarding school where I was being educated. Kneeling, or perhaps sitting, in the presence of the Lord in the Tabernacle, I wrote down a list of all the things I was thankful for. I continued this practice on my birthday for a number of years thereafter. The list was always a long one. And it was never difficult to compile. It always brought me joy.

It is decades since I have used my birthday to compile that list of blessings. But that boyhood practice has made thanksgiving central in my life, and in my prayer. If you are looking right now at a happy man, and a happy priest -- and I can assure you that you are – it is because I have trained myself to say every day, more times than I could ever tell you: “Lord, you’re so good to me. And I’m so grateful.”

And now I have a suggestion for you. Before you start to eat your Thanksgiving dinner today, go round the table and ask each person, young or old, to say at least one thing that he or she is thankful for. You may hear some surprises. Whether you do or not, I promise you one thing that a richly blessed life of more than 86 years has taught me. Thankful people are happy people – no exceptions!