Emptiness has become such a pervasive emotion, leading Pope Francis to describe our situation as “artificial paradise”. This state of affairs underlies the depression and addiction of most accomplished people.
Jack Higgins is an author who has titles like The Eagle Has Landed under his belt. He was once asked what he would like to have known as a boy.
He replied: “That when you get to the top, there’s nothing there.”
There is something there, but only those who are thankful can see it. Thanksgiving is the antidote to emptiness.
The story of the 10 lepers whom Jesus healed tells us a lot about thanksgiving. The fact that a Samaritan, an outcast, was the only one to give thanks to Jesus teaches us the most fundamental lesson. The nine Jews, in the story, felt entitled and would not express thanksgiving. Sadly, those with the most blessings in life are so entitled and often lack the capacity for thanksgiving. Ironically, it comes naturally to those who seem to be at life’s receiving end. Consequently, they experience fullness, while the affluent battle with emptiness.
Thanksgiving Day reminds us that life is giftedness, our hard work and commitment notwithstanding. We are not to squander the spirit of gratitude in a 24-hour celebration but allow it to flow into the future. To close the circle of celebration, our gratitude should allow to flourish into genuine generosity to the needy.