Friday, November 18, 2005

Welcome Relevant Radio Listeners

For all those who got up at the crack of dawn to listen to the Ragemonkey Week in Review on Relevant Radio, what follows is a recap. I offered a list of ten ideas, drawn from the Holy Mass, for making your Thanksgiving Holiday more, well, thankful. The word "eucharist" derives from the Greek word "to give thanks." It seemed like a logical connection.

1.) Prepare Yourself to Give Rather Than To Get.
Like the Holy Mass, the purpose of Thanksgiving is actually to give back to the family which spawned you. Bringing something to eat or merely a pleasant attitude is certainly in order.

2.) Remember That They Are Your Family and Friends By Design.
The Sign of the Cross carries two theological truths: the Holy Trinity and the Redemption wrought by the Cross. Because of these two realities, we are bound together, yes, even your worst enemy is bound to you, assuming they are baptized, etc. Family and friends work the same way. They are given to assist us on the way, even when it seems like they get underfoot too often. It's by design to help us grow in active charity.

3.) Decide Forgiveness Is Both Going To Be Given and Requested.
The Penitential Rite heads up the introductory rites of the Holy Mass because even the best among us come as beggars before the Lord. Therefore before we give thanks we must seek to acknowledge our fault. In the same way, we need to decide to forgive other family members and be ready to ask for forgiveness ourselves. I hate to admit this, but we all fall short on the "I love my family" scale from time to time.

4.) Tell Family Stories In Order To Build Up and Be More Perfectly a Family.
The Sacred Scriptures give us the roadmap spelling out the byways into which the Redemption has flowed, leading up to our own day. This is recounted to strength us, to trust our Lord better. Family stories are wonderful, but really, do we need to hear about how Billy got his head stuck in the bars of the banister for the 10th time? The poor guy has grown up finally and hopefully has put this ackward period behind him. Tell the stories that are triumphant tales and signs proving God's goodness.

5.) Blessings Are Blessings Despite the Appearances.
I took this from the blessing prayers before the Eucharistic Prayer. When you look at the host, it's pretty modest. The same thing with the wine at the Holy Mass. Before the consecration, they aren't much. After the consecration, the appearance hasn't changed but everything significant has. Look around at the table on Thanksgiving and it will be pretty modest. But it contains greater blessings than you can imagine.

6.) Give Thanks for All of the Things, Everything It Took to Get Them There, Regardless of Who Brings Them.
Salvation comes to us through the medium of the Cross. It isn't a pretty picture. Our time together, yes, even Myrna's deadly jello surprise (Surprise -- It's made from boiled horse hooves) comes from one who wishes to give something and hopes that we will do the same. Even if they make you crazy, be thankful anyhow.

7.) The Family is a Mystery of Faith.
That one's pretty self-explanatory.

8.) Peace is A Work of Forgiveness Meant to Restore True Community.
The Sign of Peace is literally a bridge building moment in the Mass. By the Sign of Peace we intend to communicate that old injuries are forgiven. So this observation is really just a derivation of #3 above. Peace at the dinner table during Thanksgiving starts when I decide to give it to the other person. Yes, that means no harboring resentment that the third scotch may bring forth. It instead requires me to aim higher: it requires me to see that I am just a guilty of breaking peace as the peace breaker because I won't forgive as the Gospel demands.

9.) Communion, Holy or Otherwise, Requires a Gift of Self
Man, is this hard for people to see. Christ pours out His life so that sins may be forgiven and that we may be brought into oneness with Him. Thanksgiving is a micro-communion moment. It is the chance to build with those whom we see not so often and wish to deal with even less so. But for that to happen I will have to give of myself. I will have to extend something to the other person, perhaps something that will cost me quite a lot.

10.) When It's Done, It Really Isn't Over.
Here is the kicker. Once the dishes are soaking and everyone is in a turkey induced coma, the effect of Thanksgiving isn't over yet. In the days to come, perhaps you will sense a need to talk more with your mom. Perhaps, you will finally go over to your sister's house after many months of avoiding her because she made you mad. Whatever. If Thanksgiving, as a secular holiday, is to transcend the merely secular, it must oblige us to build more things to be thankful for and to be more aware of all that we have been given.

Happy Thanksgiving -- just a skosh early.

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