Most Americans manage, even amid the cacophony of football signals
and pre-Christmas jingles, to center their attention at least one day a
year on the business of giving thanks.
For St. Francis and St. Clare, however, thanksgiving was not
confined to the fourth Thursday of November.
Giving thanks was for them a year ‘round celebration, a
twenty-four hours a day occupation.
Through Christ the Church can offer a sacrifice of praise
in thanksgiving for all that God has made
good, beautiful and just in creation and in humanity.
It was their living faith which made Francis and Clare find in
daily living unending reasons to give thanks to our Creator.
“In the morning when the sun rises, everyone should give thanks
to God,” declared an exultant Little Poor Man.
“Praise God for every green tree and flowering shrub and every
person you see,” instructed the Seraphic Mother.
Their abiding awareness that God is
all and over all and working through all enabled them to cross the
next bridge on the spiritual pilgrimage of gratitude which is to recognize
event and every need can become an offering of thanksgiving.
Thus a dinner of dry bread crusts set on a flat rock by a running
stream could move St. Francis to praise the bounties of the Lord.
St. Clare on her deathbed closed twenty-eight years of continual
ill-health with: “May You be blessed, Lord, for having created me!”
Few have plumbed as deeply as they did the mystery of Christ’s
great thanksgiving when
night He was betrayed, He took bread
by entering into the spirit of His sacrifice that they could participate
so fully in
thanksgiving (that) characterizes the prayer of the Church
which, in celebrating the Eucharist,
reveals and becomes more full what she is.