From Your Pastors
As we come to another Thanksgiving Day, we do so both sobered by the experience of the past 20 months and grateful for the opportunity to gather more fully with family and friends. There are the obvious objects of our gratitude, that which we call blessings or sign of God’s love that break forth in our lives: successes, recoveries, new opportunities, reuniting with friends and the welcoming of new children into our families. This time of pandemic and our efforts to emerge from it might call us to reflect also on the less obvious “blessings” that we should acknowledge as well. These might include how we prioritize time and schedule; work and school; quiet and solitude or other experiences that we have had as a result of the pandemic and its impact. St. John Henry Newman’s poem “A Thanksgiving” invites us to this deeper contemplation of Thanksgiving which he begins with a line from Psalm 119. He reminds us that grace arises from the burdens we bear, the challenges we face as we share the cross of Christ in our pilgrimage of life.
With gratitude for each of you and the blessings that you are in our community, let us give thanks for the difficulties and pains we have borne as well for in this “you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22)
Fr. Michael Callaghan, c.o. and Fr. Mark Lane, c.o.
Blessings of friends, which to my door
Unask’d, unhoped, have come;
And, choicer still, a countless store
Of eager smiles at home.
Yet, Lord, in memory’s fondest place
I shrine those seasons sad,
When, looking up, I saw Thy face
In kind austereness clad.
I would not miss one sigh or tear,
Heart-pang, or throbbing brow;
Sweet was the chastisement severe,
And sweet its memory now.
Yes! let the fragrant scars abide,
Love-tokens in Thy stead,
Faint shadows of the spear-pierced side
And thorn-encompass’d head.
And such Thy tender force be still,
When self would swerve or stray,
Shaping to truth the froward will
Along Thy narrow way.
Deny me wealth; far, far remove
The lure of power or name;
Hope thrives in straits, in weakness love,
And faith in this world’s shame.
Oxford. October 20, 1829