Manresa Moments: Week of November 22

Thanks, Thanks, and Thanks Again


Amidst pandemic, injustice, separation from loved ones and community, and uncertainty about the future, this year's celebration of the Thanksgiving holiday is unusual in many ways. What does it mean to give thanks this year? For what and whom are we grateful? For what do we hope? Sister Joanna Carroll, CSJ (Campus Minister for Spiritual Direction) and Fr. Randy Roche, SJ (Director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality) offer reflections to accompany and inspire us as we offer our gratitude this week.

The Office of Mission and Ministry wishes you and your loved ones a blessed and joyful Thanksgiving! May this holiday season bring all people peace, rest, and good health in body, mind, and spirit.



Thanks, Thanks, and Thanks Again!

Joanna Carroll, CSJ (Campus Minister for Spiritual Direction)


“I thank my God each time I think of you, and when I pray for you, I pray with joy.” Phil.1:3-4

I wonder.  As we make our way through these uncertain times of the pandemic, with God’s grace, I wonder what God would desire of me.  Maybe one of the most important things that I have learned is  to not take anyone or anything for granted---my sisters and congregation, family, friends, colleagues, support groups, creation, self, God.  And I remember and I am grateful for so many first responders who are giving their lives so that others might simply live, i.e. nurses, doctors,  caregivers, postal workers, farmers, delivery truck drivers, grocers, shopkeepers, city officials, teachers, administrators, social workers, and the list goes on.  I treasure what we had, and I treasure what we have now.  I wonder.  Have I/we been chosen to live in these times for a particular reason?  Have we been prepared for this, and are we being prepared for what is next?  Perhaps every hundred years, or so, humankind is reminded to pause and take a long loving look at our lives and our world and remember where we come from and what matters most.  Sometimes I only realize the gift I have when it is taken away.  Meister Eckhart reminds us, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

"Sometimes," performed by the Carpenters (Mancini/Mancini)

Perhaps the grace of Thanksgiving time is the call to remember and to be grateful for all the people in my life who have made (and continue to make) such a difference for me and for our world.  Above all, I want to remember the author and animator of all life and love, our Beloved creator and sustainer.  For me, this special time of year is a reminder to cherish all life, including my own life, just as it is, without trying to fix it, just to appreciate and embrace what is.  If I am able to do this, then I may actually be encouraging growth, development and wholeness of life.  I’m hearing a deeper call to accept and love my neighbor as she/he is without distinction.  All persons, all creation, every individual can be seen as my “dear neighbor”.  I believe we were all created in love, by Love, and for love, to be an extension of love as witnesses to goodness, beauty, and truth.  Thus, we would be reflecting “the Great Love”, the holiness and wholeness of the Divine spark initiator of all life.  This gives me hope.

In closing, I recall the words of Peter G. van Breemen, SJ.  “Thankfulness transforms people, events and things into pieces of the mosaic of God’s love story with us.”  In addition, I would like to share a song from the Carpenters that has meant so much to me since my younger years.  The words of this song speak to my deepest desire and offer consolation in my imperfect human condition.  Perhaps now is the time for me to say, “Thank you!” from the bottom of my heart.


“Sometimes, not often enough, we reflect upon the good things, and those thoughts always center around those we love, and I think about those people who mean so much to me, who for so many years have made me so very happy, and I count the times I have forgotten to say, “Thank you” and just how much I love them.”

“Sometimes” (performed by Karen and Richard Carpenter, composed by Henry Mancini)



For Thanksgiving 

Randy Roche, SJ (Director of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality) 


Dear friends,

This Thanksgiving, when we could so easily focus our attention on the loss of some of our long-time holiday traditions and practices, for what can we be especially thankful? Our Thanksgiving weekend will not be the usual busiest travel time of the year, and even though we might miss large gatherings of family and friends, we probably will not spend nearly as much time as in the past, waiting in lines and making extensive preparations for gatherings and meals. We will very likely have more quality time, if we choose to take it, for reflecting on what, or more likely who, is most important to us.

Our purpose for celebrating Thanksgiving with others is not primarily the food, but love for family, friends, associates, and persons in need. How we manifest our love this season might require creativity, but we have various means of communication available to us for conveying the personal messages that truly lift spirits, and are in themselves causes for gratitude in both giving and receiving. Our love for one another is not lessened by restrictions due to the virus. Rather, it is because of our care for self and others that we are making conscientious decisions about how to celebrate Thanksgiving, and with whom.

Instead of beginning the Pre-Christmas holiday season by shopping frantically on Black Friday, we can enjoy the peace and quiet of our homes. Let us reflect on what is most meaningful in our lives and savor the many persons, events, ideas, and inspirations for which we are thankful. We can also spend more time with whom we most want to share, and experience these meaningful relationships in a more satisfying manner than is possible in large group gatherings.

Let us have a truly thankful Thanksgiving.


A Thanksgiving prayer and message from the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange

More for Reflection


  • For whom am I thankful this year? How can I express this gratitude?
  • How can I take time and space to reflect upon gratitude over the holiday season? What practices or habits might help me to do so? 





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