In today’s second reading from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, he states, “Let us give thanks to the Father, who has made you fit to share in the inheritance of the holy ones in light. He delivered us from the power of darkness.” As we approach Thanksgiving, gratitude is on everyone’s mind. We think about what we are grateful for, and we have God to thank for everything in our lives, from the birds chirping to the oceans crashing to the first cry of a new born baby.
This past summer, I had a great opportunity to view God’s creation while I was on a pilgrimage in Assisi. While walking through the streets of Assisi following the footsteps of St. Francis and St. Clare, I got a true sensory overload of all that God created. I close my eyes and can still picture the beautiful sunsets, feel the mist from the La Verna mountain top and see the beautiful red poppy fields as we drove through the hillside. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to go to such a spiritual place and make lifelong relationships. While in Assisi, we were able to see the chapel in San Damiano that was so important to St. Francis. St. Francis heard a voice from the cross in San Damiano that said, “Francis go and repair my house which, as you see, is all falling down.” Initially, St. Francis thought the voice meant to repair the San Damiano church when in reality, the voice meant to rebuild the people of the church. In the Responsorial Psalm today, we say, “Let us go rejoicing to the house of the Lord.” This is what St. Francis did when he realized what is call really was. He went on to gain many followers who also wanted to rebuild the church. They gave up their belongings, and went house to house asking for food. His followers wore itchy, horse hair clothes and wore no shoes. St. Clare modeled her life after St. Francis. While we were at The Basilica of Saint Clare or Basilica di Santa Chiara, we were able to see her lock of hair and cloak that she would wear.
Hearing about how St. Francis and St. Clare decided to live for God made me really thankful for the food on my table and clothes on my back. I wanted to go on the Rome and Assisi pilgrimage to achieve a closer relationship to God and I left feeling at peace and grateful for my experience. Because of my time in Italy, I decided to make the commitment and join RCIA at Neumann. RCIA is a program that will allow me to get my Holy Communion and Confirmation so that I can finally be officially part of the Catholic Church. I am still craving that religious tranquility I felt while overseas, so I signed up for the SEARCH retreat. Being in such a beautiful place reminded me how great God is. We built a great community of loving people while being able to star gaze, listen to the waves crash in the bay and watch the sunrise. I am constantly reminded, especially as Thanksgiving comes up, that we should be grateful for all that God has given us and for the future that God already has planned for us.