Gratitude and charity toward others are hallmarks of our Catholic tradition. Pope Gregory I, and later Thomas Aquinas list gratitude and charity among the seven heavenly virtues. Charity is our spirit of caring for our neighbors and nurturing the collective well-being of those who dwell in our shared spaces. Being charitable embodies the essence of empathy, kindness and a fundamental understanding that our lives are intricately woven together.
As a faith family, we make up the Body of Christ and are all connected. Our first two commandments are to love God and to love one another. We respond to this call in many ways – listening, lending a hand, celebrating joys, comforting sorrows, sharing resources and simply being present. When we foster this spirit of caring for others we cultivate a sense of community and create a support system that extends beyond boundaries and differences. We recognize our individual stories may differ but our shared humanity as children of God unites us. We know too, this spirit of caring creates a ripple effect. When one person initiates an act of charity it inspires others to do the same. Charity also inspires gratitude.
St. Paul emphasizes the importance of gratitude encouraging believers to maintain a spirit of thankfulness. He also encourages the Thessalonians to give thanks in all circumstances as this is God’s will for us (1 Thessalonians 2:13). St. Paul emphasizes teaching underscores the idea that gratitude is not merely a response to favorable situations but a continual disposition, even in challenging times. Maintaining a grateful disposition aligns us with God’s will and deepens our relationship with God.
This month we feature topics centered on these virtues as we near the close of our liturgical year and begin to prepare for the coming of our Savior. We highlight Central Florida’s 2023 National Philanthropy Day, our Board of Directors Annual Meeting and celebrate Catholic education with our community at Bishop Moore’s Legacy Gala and Cristo Rey’s groundbreaking. Giving Tuesday takes place the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and provides the opportunity to support those ministries closest to our hearts. The Catholic Foundation’s Matthew 25 fund ministers to those in our community who are in need of basic necessities such as food, gas, utilities and rent. We also share Year-end Giving Tips which our Donor Services team has gathered to maximize your charitable efforts.
May I take this opportunity to thank YOU for your generous and faithful support of our collective charity throughout the year. I pray your Thanksgiving will be filled with gratitude and the joy of cherished moments with friends and family.