There is a guideline for priests that states that all priest should pray for a half-hour a day, unless, of course, they are really busy, in which case they should pray an hour! The implication being that the busier life gets, the greater the need for reflection to make sense of it.

I would contend that the same sensibility holds true for adversity: the more difficult life gets, the more we need prayer to attain a sense of gratitude. It is understandable, if not normal, for people directly impacted by Hurricane Harvey, the shootings in Las Vegas or Sutherland Springs to reflect on this past year as horrible and tragic. The risk is that without prayer and reflection we remain focused on our loss and those feelings naturally progress to bitterness and resentment.

Reading Scripture, going for a walk, writing in a journal, participating at Mass are various ways that we reflect on the joys and challenges of life and invite Jesus to make sense of it. The people that we admire are not people immune to pain or tragedy – because no one fits into that category – but are people who have allowed that suffering to transform themselves into someone even more loving and grateful.

On behalf of the Basilian Fathers and the faculty and staff of St. Thomas, may this Thanksgiving be a time for you and your family to find a deeper sense of gratitude that goes beyond the challenges of this past year.

Catholic. Basilian. Teaching Goodness, Discipline and Knowledge since 1900.