It’s Thanksgiving week, and everywhere I look, everyone’s talking about thankfulness.
You don’t need me to remind you that this is a time to be thankful. I’m sure that, like me, you’re hearing it everywhere.
Sometimes, when I’m doing these thankful exercises, I start out specific and work my way into general things. I might think about the food that feeds my family; the work that provides the money for the food, the store in town where I buy it; the farmers who work so hard in the fields around our house; the system that allows us to have access to so much food.
Other times, I do things the opposite way. I might see the blue sky and the lovely weather of a late fall day and, in being thankful, turn my attention to my specific patch of land, and then to my old farmhouse — which, though I love it and hate it at the same time, is a house nonetheless. Then I’ll look inside the house, beyond the stuff and junk, to the people who make this old house a place where I want to be.
At the heart of my thankfulness is my faith.
I look at the person I almost was, at the path my life was taking, and I thank God for the series of interventions that led me to this point, where I live in a home filled with kids and a dog and a husband, with family just down the road.
I can’t help but be thankful for the divine hand that led me to Mother Church, that saved me from the person I almost was.
And when I think about my conversion to the Catholic Church, I can’t help but think about Mary.
Mary has been many things to me over the last 12 years. She has been a lovely statue, a nice idea, a remote figure in a Bible story.
She has been the gentle touch during a sob-fest, a shoulder to rest my head on, the hand I hold when I don’t know how to pray.
She has been inspiration for pursuing a dream. She has been confidence in my parenting journey. She has been comfort during storms and trials.
But most of all, for me, she has been an example and an inspiration. As my mother, she has never let me down, has never hurt me, has never pushed me away. As my comrade-in-arms, she has never failed to encourage me, never stopped me from trying to do good, never pointed anywhere but heavenward.
I can look to Jesus with some measure of love because of Mary. I can think of Him holding me close because I have experienced the love of His mother.
That’s what she does, you know. She leads you to her Son. This Thanksgiving, may Mary point you in the direction of her Son in a new and special way.