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Thanksgiving: A Feast of Gratitude

Often when asked to name a special family time, people’s responses cluster around meals: Christmas dinner, birthday parties, a vacation cookout by the shore, a wedding banquet. Their intuition is sound: these special times are also sacred times. What better day to celebrate that connection than Thanksgiving? It’s a holiday designed for thanks and feasting (though turkey and football have become a cultural accretion). The first pilgrims who celebrated it were simply glad they had survived a precarious ocean crossing in 1620 and had harvested enough corn to carry them through winter. They were grateful—not for a blissful, pain-free experience—but for the presence of God in whatever circumstance they met.
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Notes from a Friar: A Spirit of Gratitude

If your family comes together to share good food and happy memories, you are blessed. Unfortunately, some family gatherings are stressful because of long-held grudges and lack of forgiveness. But I don’t want to focus on just Thanksgiving Day itself but being thankful every day as a basic virtue that can brighten our lives.  
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Understanding Yesterday's Mistakes

Most of us have moments in our past that we regret: times when we were not who we wanted to be and times we acted outside our expectations for how we want to behave. During these times we may have hurt those we love or caused ourselves unwanted pain.
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Six Ways to Be Grateful

Sometimes we need to be brought to the edge of darkness to realize how much we’ve already been given by God to enjoy and celebrate. This can be the case even if we are religiously attuned, spiritually alert, and psychologically healthy.
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To Be Joyful

The renowned Lutheran theologian and World War II martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer is famous for presenting a number of helpful ways to look at Christian discipleship.I believe that among the most significant for those of us in religious life today, or living out our vows in any walk of life today, is that of the distinction between “cheap grace” and “costly grace,” discussed in Bonhoeffer’s book The Cost of Discipleship.
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Our Deepest Relationship Is with God

Given that we are created in God’s own image and likeness, it is not an exaggeration to say that these human relationships are God-like. This month, I want to reflect the ultimate basis for those relationships: our relationship with God and God’s relationship with us.
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Trusting What Beckons: A Meditation on Healing

Not long ago, I fell in a state park while hiking with friends. I was elated at first that no bones appeared to be broken. Since travel has been the major constant in my life for two decades, I pictured in that first second of the fall how impossible it would be if my arms, wrists, or legs were splintered.
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Get to Know Yourself

What do you want to be when you grow up? Think back to your childhood. Do you remember how you answered this question?
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Calling Out to God

This blog was supposed to be about something completely different. I had planned on writing about recognizing the many blessings in our lives. But on the day that I sat down to write it, I got word that someone I had known for most of my life had died the previous day in a car wreck. Like so many other people in my life, we had reconnected through Facebook. At the time of her death, she was in the midst of undergoing treatment for cancer. She had gotten married just a few weeks before the wreck. It wasn’t fair.
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Saint Francis and His Dreams

Saint Francis of Assisi had many different dreams during his lifetime. Some of his dreams were fulfilled while others were dashed. As a youth he often dreamed of becoming a knight and finding glory on the battlefield. Francis’ first adventure in pursuit of glory took place when he joined the Assisi army against the army of the neighboring city of Perugia. This turned out to be one of his failed dreams. His side lost, and he spent a good deal of time fighting depression in a Perugian prison.
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