Monday, November 14, 2011

Thanksgiving Grace for You Psalmsayers

Thanksgiving is the best national holiday ever invented:  a non-denominational  religious festival proclaimed by a secular government. The Church agrees, which is why we have a votive mass for Thanksgiving Day here in the United States, and, I'm guessing, in Canada. (Mrs. Pinkerton: please verify if you read this.)

I love Thanksgiving for many reasons, one of which is that it is so easy: all you have to do is cook! No presents, minimal decorating, no cards. True, it's a dinner that takes an entire day to fix, but no none expects Mom to do any of her usual 1001 tasks on Thanksgiving Day. And there are lots of eager helpers since they all anxious to eat As Soon as Possible. Or so it is in our house.

But my greatest joy on this day is to witness the reunion of my grown up children with my younger, "in-house" kids.  You can   go here if you would like to read my article, "The Return of the Siblings"  over at Faith&Family Live. This year, that joy may even be topped by the first ever visit of  Harald the Magnificent,the  premier granchild of our clan.

His royal cuteness and Grammy two weeks ago. That nasty nasal tube is all gone now.

We psalmsayers *  are well primed for this this holiday, since we are directed by the liturgy multiple times every single week to thank God for all sorts of things. Thus the Divine Office, among its many benefits, helps us to cultivate an ongoing Attitude of Gratitude. Many  Christian families have some sort of ritual or prolonged Grace before or after Thanksgiving Dinner. However your family does this, consider adding a psalm of thanksgiving. My top 3 suggestions for this are:

-Psalm 100 (nice and short if the hungry natives are getting restless).

-Psalm 92 -"It is good to give thanks to the Lord..." A little longer but still not bad. Some militaristic imagery about enemies perishing and hearing gladly of their fall, so a little  catechesis may be in order for the Easily Offended among your dinner guests.

-Psalm 118- longer still, with even more triumphant enemy-crushing ("this is about Jesus crushing Satan, Aunt Pacifica,and us crushing our faults, so chill."), and ends with that wonderful verse, "This is the day the Lord has made"  and the "His love endures forever" refrain.)

I'm telling you all this 10 days  ahead of time so that busy parents have time to select their Thanksgiving psalm and put a copy of it where you know it will be ready for Thanksgiving grace. Speaking from long experience, few things peeve hungry children more than Mom or Dad scampering off to locate Bible or breviary while the food is getting cold. Have it sitting on your chair ahead of time. (the psalm,not the food.)

* newly coined word. Definition: Psalmsayer n. one who frequently recites  the psalms and in particular those of the  Divine Office so as to be familiar  with the wisdom, prophecy, christological types, and attitudes of praise and thanksgiving to be found therein; a whimsical play on the word soothsayer.