Scripture Focus: 1 Peter 3.17-18
For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
This week is Thanksgiving week in the United States. As we focus on giving thanks, we will look at ancient and modern poetry, writings, and prayers, offering praise and thankfulness to our God.
Reflection: How Must We In All Things Give Thanks?
By William Cooper (fl. 1653)
St. Augustine inaugurated that ancient custom among Christians, in whose mouths you should always hear these words: Deo gratias, “Thanks be to God!” When they met and saluted one another, Deo gratias, “God be thanked.” When they heard any tidings of persecution or protection, favor or frown, gain or loss, cross or comfort — still Deo gratias.
“What,” said Augustine, “shall brothers in Christ not give God thanks when they see one another? What better thing can we speak, or think, or write, than this? God be thanked! Nothing can be more compendiously spoken, nor more gladly heard, nor more solemnly understood, nor more profitably acted, than this; God be thanked!”
Such a frame of heart had holy Job: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”
And such a one was in the sweet singer of Israel: “I will bless the Lord at all times.” Notable is that of Chrysostom: “There is nothing, nothing we can study, more pleasing to God than to be thankful — not only in good days, but also when things fall cross. This is the best sacrifice and oblation we offer God.”
This made Jerome say, “It is peculiar to Christians to give thanks in adversity. To praise God for benefits, this [anyone] can do. To give God thanks in dangers according to the apostle’s sense, and in miseries — to always to say, ‘Blessed be God’ — this is the highest pitch of virtue. Here is your Christian; such a one takes up his cross, and follows his Savior: no loss or cross can dishearten him.”
To give God thanks for crosses and afflictions is to be numbered among those singular things which Christians are bound to excel in. We ought excel beyond [those who do not believe] in loving our enemies and blessing those that curse — which our Savior exhorts and commands.
We must thank the Lord for afflicting us, and for laying the cross upon us, because it is so far below what we deserve at his hands. To drink as He drank it we cannot — we need not. Thank God, then, that you have such a little share of it — when all was your portion by right and justice. This is worthy of our thanks.
Divine Hours Prayer: The Greeting
Out of Zion, perfect in its beauty, God reveals himself in glory. —Psalm 50:2
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime by Phyllis Tickle.
1 Chronicles 22 (Listen -5:21),
1 Peter 3 (Listen -3:30)
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Read more about Collective Thanksgiving
May we use this week to engage our communities—church, work, and home—in thanksgiving for what God is doing in and through us.
Read more about Seeing Beyond Suffering
To be conformists to Christ, is to be nonconformists to the world. But what conforms us more to Christ than the cross? Therefore give thanks for it