#040: Giving Thanks


Here in the United States, we are gearing up for another holiday week. I don’t know about all of you, but, for myriad reasons, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I enjoy the food, the counting of blessings, the time spent with family and friends, the pause, the reflection. 

But, while my enthusiasm for Thanksgiving has not waned over the years, the simplicity of my understanding has. I recognize that Thanksgiving can stir a complex and sometimes conflicting sense of emotion. Not all celebrations are peaceful. Not all tallies of blessings seem to be as long. Not all family gatherings are akin to Norman Rockwell. 

In a particular way this year, I think of the challenges we face in our Church, our communities, country, and our world. Scandal. Division. Violence. Natural disasters. Illness. War. Anger. Apathy. 

So, today, in the midst of the messiness of life, we are pausing to give thanks. To do so, we’ll hear from the writings of four voices, each helping explore what it means to be grateful. I’m hoping you’ll find this to be a sort of mini-retreat, and so I’ve interspersed music selections between each reading. If you can’t listen to the entire episode at once, listen to a portion each day. I hope you are able to find time this week to let these words and melodies sink in, challenging and affirming, and, in a special way, feeding and forming. 


You can find like to the works you heard read in today’s episode by clicking on the name of the author: Abraham Lincoln, Fr. Romano Guardini, Pope Francis, Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, and Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB.

The music you heard in today’s episode: “Come You Thankful People Come” (arr. Alonso), piano improvisation on “Simple Gifts,” “We Plow the Fields and Scatter,” “Thanks Be to Thee,” (Handel), “O God You Search Me” (Farrell), “Earth and All Stars,” and “Give Us Peace” (Roberts).

Visit NPM's digital resource library, referenced at the end of the episode. 

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