The people do not merely say “thanks” (that overused and insipid filler response to everything and everyone). We do not even say “thank you God,” a quick prayer breathed when finding a parking place or dodging one of life’s bullets. The proper response to the entire Liturgy of Being is thanks be to God. Meaning: all gratitude is properly due to the source of all good.
The other day I rode to my favorite little corner of Golden Gate Park with a book. To my delight I discovered a flock of Canadian geese milling about the green lakeshore. As my red bike and I approached our favorite bench, these splendid fowl briefly regarded us with serene approval. They quickly returned to their worms and bugs, or to preening their ample plumage, with their soothing little clicks and clacks. They were content to eat what God provided beside Metson Lake. And I, the only rational being in that assembly (with the possible exception of my red bike), gave thanks to God. How could I not? But the geese too gave thanks to God, in their own way. All was beauty, and all was peace.
Today is Thanksgiving, thanks be to God. We get a day off, and we get some time with the ones we love most. Yesterday I offered a Mass for Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, for indeed in the older calendar November 27 is the Feast of the Miraculous Medal, and November 28 (today) is the Feast of St. Catherine Laboure, who received that medal from Our Lady in 1830. In 1968 my mother put a miraculous medal around my neck and told me never to take it off. Even though I’ve gone through a dozen such medals in the 51 years since that day, a large miraculous medal still swings over my heart as I ride my red bike through life. I would be a dead man, or I would have lost my faith in Jesus, or I would have abandoned the priesthood, if it were not for Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. Thanks Mom! And thanks be to God.