My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
My spirit rejoices in God my savior.
Mary Olivia Patiño, MTS
As we approach the Thanksgiving holidays, and we are busy planning the meal, the “invites”, and other preparations, it is worthwhile to ask ourselves: “What am I most thankful for in my life?” In a few days, some of us will sit around a kitchen or dining table. Alone, perhaps; or with others, we will pass the turkey or ham, the mashed potatoes or broccoli, the salt or pepper, the sweet potatoes or pumpkin pie. "Pass the bread," please.
The turkey and trimmings are such an integral part of our Thanksgiving meal that we may be surprised to be seated next to vegetarians. More and more, we recognize that some persons prefer meatless dishes and thus, bypass the turkey and ham. And that is alright. But what about the most important dish to serve? How do we serve and pass around our own, special “gratitude” for the "bread," i.e., the blessings in our lives?
What form does this thanksgiving take for each of us? For me, thanksgiving begins with an act of prayer. The first prayer is that of giving thanks to God. Each day when I rise, I am grateful for a new day and for my blessings. Creation is a gift. Family is a gift. Friendship is a gift. Faith is a gift. At least, that is how I view my blessings. At Thanksgiving, during the holidays, I am thankful for so much, in addition to what I’ve mentioned already. I appreciate the sacredness of life, the safety and shelter of home, food on my table, and clean water to drink. I am grateful for healthcare and its benefits. I am also grateful for the little surprises that come to me unexpectedly.
I am very glad of the talents that God has given me. I consider writing to be one of the gifts from the Holy Spirit. I write because I am inspired, as with my poetry. I also write to share my stories and those in my family history. Above all, I write and create to give glory and praise to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Questions for Reflection: What are you most grateful for? What are your gifts and talents? How do you use these gifts and talents? What will you pass around on your dishes this Thanksgiving Holiday?
Moments of Grace:
Writing helps us 'explore' our spiritual wellspring. Be ready for the surprising memories that may surface, for the joy they bring or for the opportunity of healing.
Enter into the experience: write to remember, to create, or to leave a legacy.
A Meditation on Gratitude
Fr. James Martin, S.J. offers a meditation on gratitude and on "savoring occasions."..which can be "antidotes for our increasingly rushed lives". (America Magazine online, November 24, 2018).
Author Geraldine Guadagno has several books. Here is one, below:
The Moss Rose Antique Shop by Glee Miller
Mary Olivia Patiño is a poet and author. Her work has been published in various venues. A recent article about a parish writing group was published in Today's Catholic -San Antonio Archdiocesan newspaper.
Check out this video posted by Bertha Jacobson, an author friend.
A Cup of Faith
by Mary Olivia Patiño, MTS
A Cup of Faith
“My days are so busy, cooking, washing, and doing errands. You name it. I can’t seem to find time to just relax or even to sit down and pray. I almost need to draw up a list of all I have to do. How do you start your day?” We were in a café, about to order a cup of coffee. I was trying to decide over a ‘potato & egg’ or a ‘bean & cheese’ taco, among my usual favorites. Listening to my friend’s question, I also knew that she does take her faith seriously, and lives it. Today, she sounded a little tired. Yet, the question was still valid and led me to the following reflection:
How do I start my day?
Here are three suggestions to start the day:
-Give thanks. Lift up your mind and thoughts in gratitude. Expressing gratitude is paramount, the ‘first order’, and a way of praying.
-Open the front or back door and take in the beauty before you. This is one way of praising God.
-Start the coffee!
Nature invites us to pause, slow down, and reflect on the beauty of creation. I enjoy the bluejays, mockingbirds, and cardinals that fly across my horizon; sometimes they spring down from the tree branches to munch on birdseed I’ve placed outdoors. Occasionally, I catch a glimpse of Carolina wrens or a back crested titmouse. I’ve dubbed the ‘pesky’ squirrels who eat the seed or dig up my planters as ‘you rascally creatures’. However, I do enjoy watching them ‘freeze’ against the tree limbs when they hear me object to their antics.
But for those who don’t have the luxury of a back yard, or don’t wake up near a park, focus on whatever is before you. Sometimes, a cup of coffee or tea is all it takes for me to breathe in God's goodness. The feel of a warm cup in hand and the aroma emanating is heavenly!
For me, the simple ritual of brewing coffee, serving myself, and sitting down to relax is a nice time to give thanks, and reflect on the day which is about to begin. It is my way of seeing life through a ‘Cup of Faith’. It is good to the taste, and good for the soul. It can also be a way of ‘pray-er’ in the midst of a busy day.
Reflect on the ways that you start your day, pray or offer the day to the Lord. Let the Holy Spirit guide you.
Care for a Cup of Faith?
My "Cups of Faith" feature photographs that I have taken as well as 'sayings' or quotations from Sacred Scripture. A selection of two quotes for the The Red Birds: "Celebrate" ; or "The Birds of heaven dwell; from among the branches they send forth their song."
More of my writing can be found in Moments of Grace: A Collection of Poetry Inspired by Faith. Find me on