As my family and I begin to prepare for our Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, we also begin to think of everything that God has done to us and for us over the last year. He provides us what we need every day. He leads us in righteousness. He sanctifies our hearts. He grants us new friends. He teaches us how to worship Him. We all have much to be thankful for, but this year the ecclesiastical blessings seem to outweigh all others.
Above all things, what should stand out for each of us who are waiting to enter an Ordinariate is the blessing of truth. I have some relatives who not only do not understand the Catholic Church, they do not understand the Christian faith in any form. I know people who show a sincere and deep love for the Lord, but they are vehemently against anything that is even similar to Catholicism. I know Anglicans who think I have gone crazy and am leaving my Anglican heritage by heading to the Ordinariate. I had a Muslim friend years ago who once told me, "You're my friend, but if my Imam told me to, I would kill you in a second for the glory of Allah". Two days ago, while having lunch with my family in a local restaurant, I received one of those angry stares that catches you off guard (I was not sure if it was the collar alone, or something else, but there was clear hatred in those eyes). There is blindness in every direction.
Yet, here we are; we who see the light of God's truth and are ready to submit ourselves to Holy Mother Church. In America we await the establishment of the Ordinariate in just a few weeks, and we are (as has been said many times) on the cusp of a truly historical moment. We are those who have experienced the gospel in its fullness. Whether it happened in your infant years when you were baptized, or later as an adult, the truth has come and we have been set free of this fallen world. Who are we to have been blessed like this? The purpose of the Church is as Jesus told it to the Apostle Paul: to reach out to the lost and "to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me" (Acts 26:18). We are those who have been drawn to the Church. Cradle Catholics, Anglo-Catholics who are returning home, or converts from Protestantism, we have all been given the light, and for this we need to express thanks.
We have received grace to come to the truth of Catholicism. In whatever way it happened, and at whatever time in our lives, it has come as a blessing from God. Jesus opens our eyes so that we can see Him. He teaches us His truth so that we can receive Him in His Church. Let us all remember that this, above all else, is what we have to be thankful for. God has given us His Son, and helped us to believe all that He tells us, and that should fill each of us with a desire to give Him thanks. To all, in whatever country you are in: Have a Happy Thanksgiving.