A Thanksgiving “Thank You”

This past July, you may have read a Catholic Leadership Institute email entitled, “When Jesus said No” inspired by the late Bishop George Niederauer, who CLI was blessed to serve.

This Thanksgiving, I am thinking about… when Jesus said, “Thank you.”

Below, read my reflection and see why I think Jesus would certainly say “thank you” to all of you.

Today, I wish you and your families the most love-filled and faith-filled Thanksgiving.

I am overwhelmed with thanks for the many people who make our mission and ministry possible. Thank you.

Great Gratitude

The word “thanks” occurs in the Bible more than 100 times. Even Jesus Himself, the Son of God, whose entire life was an act of love and thanksgiving, paused several times throughout the Bible to be thankful.

As I reflected upon those instances of great gratitude, I was reminded that, in many ways, what Jesus is thankful for…. is very similar to what we at Catholic Leadership Institute are thankful for!

Jesus thanks His Father;
I thank the Father for you, today and every day.

Just as Jesus thanks His father, so too do we. As we gather today to give thanks to God for the many blessings in our lives, know that when I pray alongside my loved ones tonight, I will be offering prayers of gratitude for you.

You are a blessing to me. You are a blessing to our Church.

Jesus gives thanks before feeding others;
I thank you for helping CLI feed others spiritually

Before Jesus performs the miracle of the loaves and fishes, he gives thanks. CLI’s ministry provides spiritual nourishment for Catholics around the country – always, CLI is thankful to all the people who share their resources to meet that hunger.

Daily, I see within CLI’s ministry the miracles at work in our Church, our parishes, our leaders, and our hearts. The miracle is not our lessons, tools, or support… the miracle is what you do with those to bring Jesus to others.

Jesus gives thanks before raising Lazarus from the dead;
We offer thanks for you before we do the hard work you make possible.

Jesus’ mission here on earth was not an easy one. He had hard work to do. In his miraculous encounter with Lazarus, he is giving thanks before the opportunity of doing hard work.

I thank all of the priests, bishops, laity, clergy, staff, and benefactors who do the hard work of our ministry. We are humbled to be partners on the journey; but, those in the pews, in our parishes, and in our dioceses do the miraculous work.

Jesus gives thanks before sharing his cup at the Passover Meal;
Thank you for pouring forth from your cup to support Church leaders.

Jesus offers the ultimate cup. Matthew 26:27 shares, “Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you…’”

A donor recently shared with CLI that Psalm 23 and the words “my cup overflows,” have been a foundational Bible verse for his generosity.

To all who share from your cups with CLI gifts of time, talent, and treasure, thank you.

At the Last Supper, Jesus gives thanks;
At Thanksgiving dinner, we give thanks for all of you who have helped bring another to the faith and to the table through your work alongside CLI.

As you participate in your Thanksgiving dinners and say your own words of gratitude to our Lord, pause for a minute. I hope you will take just a second to remember tha,t at that same instance, I – and many Catholics from dioceses across the U.S. – are praying in gratitude to our Lord for you. They may not know your name or know you personally, but they know that there are people who care deeply about our faith who are giving, working, and forging our future in partnership with CLI.

Every member of the CLI community - whether you have been a participant, volunteer, staff, donor, or someone who has prayed for us - you are furthering the gift Jesus gave us at the Last Supper.

As I picture the Lord in heaven receiving prayers of gratitude this Thanksgiving, I imagine He is thankful for all of those doing the work here on earth to further the mission of our faith, a faith we are all thankful for.

by Tim Flanagan

November 22, 2022

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