Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
The secular media and advertisers are telling us that we are swiftly approaching the holiday season. Their goal is to entice and encourage us to begin our holiday shopping, not necessarily a critical goal for us as Christians. However, it is good for us to reflect thoughtfully on the fact that as these major holidays and religious seasons become closer and closer, our first response should be a profound sense of thanks to God for all the blessings that are showered upon us. We see a world, a nation and even some of our local communities and families in such disarray that we might be tempted to be somewhat negative in our analysis of the current situation. However, this kind of response misses the fact that there is so much good around us, even in the midst of a lot of difficulty. Our recent flood situation in South Carolina, while terribly devastating to many brought forth so much good will and generosity from people not only locally, but from many parts of the nation: we were inspired and we are grateful.
When the Holy Father visited our country a few weeks ago, he pointed out so many opportunities for us to proclaim God’s goodness and so many ways that we can find fulfillment and satisfaction in our faith. And of course, the Holy Father’s focus on the importance of family life and the fact that we can find security and joy in family life is certainly another reason to be thankful.
Next month, at the Holy Father’s direction, the Church will enter into a jubilee year of Mercy. This year will be a tremendous opportunity for all of us not only to experience God’s mercy for us, but also to be people who can extend mercy and forgiveness to others. Hopefully this constant call to mercy will lead to reconciliation between humanity and God, among individual people and hopefully even nations.
I ask that as we approach this Thanksgiving Day and the holy season of Advent we might focus on all the blessings that God has given us and continue as we approach Christmas to reflect on the ways we might better deal with a world that so desperately needs Christ to be born in hearts of all people.
A blessed Thanksgiving day to all.
Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone
Bishop of Charleston