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Feast of Thanks View Comments
By Kathy Coffey

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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Kathy Coffey, the author of many books including Women of Mercy (Orbis), gives workshops and retreats nationally. She may be reached at cafekathy@aol.com.

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Augustine of Hippo: A Christian at 33, a priest at 36, a bishop at 41: Many people are familiar with the biographical sketch of Augustine of Hippo, sinner turned saint. But really to get to know the man is a rewarding experience. 
<p>There quickly surfaces the intensity with which he lived his life, whether his path led away from or toward God. The tears of his mother, the instructions of Ambrose and, most of all, God himself speaking to him in the Scriptures redirected Augustine’s love of life to a life of love. </p><p>Having been so deeply immersed in creature-pride of life in his early days and having drunk deeply of its bitter dregs, it is not surprising that Augustine should have turned, with a holy fierceness, against the many demon-thrusts rampant in his day. His times were truly decadent—politically, socially, morally. He was both feared and loved, like the Master. The perennial criticism leveled against him: a fundamental rigorism. </p><p>In his day, he providentially fulfilled the office of prophet. Like Jeremiah and other greats, he was hard-pressed but could not keep quiet. “I say to myself, I will not mention him,/I will speak in his name no more./But then it becomes like fire burning in my heart,/imprisoned in my bones;/I grow weary holding it in,/I cannot endure it” (Jeremiah 20:9).</p> American Catholic Blog Lord, please fill my heart and soul with the confidence that you will always provide what I need, when I need it, and let me be obedient to you.

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