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Father Muench Says...

Looking towards a special Thanksgiving

Nov. 19, 2014

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Again, a little more about November.  Besides the wonderful feasts of All Saints and All Souls, we have the national holiday of Thanksgiving.  Each November we pause to celebrate a very basic Christian quality – being thankful.

Every time Holy Mass is celebrated, there is an act of gratitude – gratitude to Our Lord Jesus – who died for us on the cross and rose again to new life.  Jesus continues to give himself to us in the Blessed Eucharist in an act of gratitude for all peoples.

You may remember that the very word “Eucharist” means thanksgiving.  Eucharist is a Greek word still heard of on the streets of Athens as someone offers thanks to another: “thank you” – “Eucharistia.”

This year Thanksgiving will be a very different experience for me.  I am writing about this as an opportunity for me to express my gratitude and love to so many.  I am putting my very being in the hands of doctors and nurses as I am about to undergo bi-pass surgery.

Like many Americans, I think I can take care of myself – completely.  I love to be of help to others, to parishioners and friends when they are in need or going through health crises.  I have personally escaped anything serious.

And now along comes this situation and I must depend on others.  I must place my trust completely in my doctors. 

I must admit that all of this is a real surprise; the last thing I would think of would be heart problems.  I have walked with many through this heart surgeries and often said to myself “this will not happen to me.”  Well – surprise – surprise.

Now, so many of my family, friends and parishioners have begun turning to me and promising prayers and support.  I have promised and offered prayers and celebrated Masses for so many in need in the past.  Now, all of a sudden, I am the one who is being prayed for.

I know in faith that these prayers truly make a difference.  I suspect I have mentioned to you about reading an article in some sort of psychology magazine in which an author, a psychologist, considered how valuable it was in any sort of health need to have many praying and remembering the person in need.  That is so interesting.  We people of faith are certain that it is good and important but this was a secular psychologist

I must admit that even now as I am getting ready for surgery, I feel so much support in the concern and prayers of so many.  It is a rather loving spirit.  It certainly removes so much of the stress and anxiety. 

So, I am so intensely grateful to so many who have been so caring, taking a moment to remember me.  It is a rather curious feeling.  I am not alone as I sit here in this hospital room. In so many places, so many wonderful friends and families who are part of my life as a priest  are taking a moment to pray for me, to support me, to say to me that they are willing to take some of my fear on themselves.  I will not walk into that OR alone tomorrow. I will have the Lord and a whole band of loved ones.

So I am filled with gratitude today. Oh, I am a little worried – I was just reading a description of all that will happen and all that I must do during the recovery and it sounds rather complicated but I have such great support.
I am writing this a week or so before you will receive this however, I am remembering so many in gratitude for their prayers and concern and love.  I must admit that I am also taking some time praying for my doctor and his helpers, the other doctors and nurses.  Their dedication and care is very special; it is truly TLC.  I am developing a deep respect for all physicians and health care people. 

With God’s grace, when you read this you will also know that all went well for me.  I will keep you informed.
This will be a special Thanksgiving Day this year.

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