On this day we call Thanksgiving, we reflect on what brings us to our tables every year and the traditions we’ve established in our families. Of course, while that might include overindulging on turkey, complete with all the trimmings, and falling into a food coma in front of the TV for a good football game, it is also a time to think back to our early American history and recall the story of the first pilgrims; the ones that made it, and those that did not. More importantly we are reminded of why they came—seeking the autonomy to worship God the way they believed would give him the most glory and to govern themselves according to Biblical principles.
While not everyone in this country is Roman Catholic, we are primarily a Christian nation and our laws reflect that. Even most atheists and agnostics adhere to a common moral code that is Biblically based, whether they care to admit that or not. God planted within each of us the seed of moral conscience, which is fostered by treating others as we would like to be treated (Matthew, Chapter 7).
Given that we can’t necessarily call ourselves a “Catholic” nation (not even a “catholic” nation), I am still intrigued by certain values that clearly rose out of Catholic teachings. For example, I was reading an article about a homeschooling family and a type of curriculum workbook they were using to teach their children various virtues such as having a generous heart, an attitude of service, and generally being kind and thoughtful to others. They aren’t a Catholic family, yet what they are teaching their children doesn’t require a formal curriculum. It can be found in the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy that have been taught by the Catholic Church for centuries.
Many of the articles we write here on this blog remind us of being proper stewards of everything with which God blesses us. These teachings are found in the Bible as early as Genesis when Joseph warns the Pharaoh that his dreams reveal seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Even in Genesis, God is warning his people to be good stewards when things are going well because circumstances have a way of changing. Some Protestant religions follow this teaching and call it “The Joseph Principle.” Again, the only formal curriculum this requires is the Bible.
We also look to the Bible for wisdom on financial decisions. Many of our laws regarding borrowing and lending come from the Bible and we teach those Biblical principles in our 9-week Bible study (Navigating Your Finances God’s Way). We have also seen the unfortunate repercussions when these Biblical principles are not followed and the difficulties that result when trying to get back on our feet.
While our country has been established for a “few” hundred years now and we have moved away from some of the original views of our founding families, we are still able to worship God the way we believe gives him the most glory and continue to teach that to future generations. Thankfully most of our laws that were initially established with Biblical context in mind are still in place and America is still a country steeped in tradition and values that stem from faith in God.
We are constantly being blessed by the teachings and traditions of our Catholic Christian faith and it is so important to remind ourselves of these blessings, not only on days such as this that are set aside for giving thanks, but every day.
“Give thanks to the Lord, who is good, whose love endures forever.”~Psalm 118:1, Hymn of Thanksgiving