Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and I would like to wish you a very happy Thanksgiving in advance. Not necessarily a big one or an extraordinary one. Just a happy one. “Happy” doesn’t have to be busy, or complicated, or involve a lot of travel, or a lot of trouble, you know. To be happy, all we need is to be conscious of our blessings and the many advantages of our lives, and to be grateful to God for them.
Let me give you an example of what I mean. In my pocket, I carry at all times an old leather key-holder. I don’t remember how long I’ve had it, or when or where I got it. When you open it, you find six rings on which to carry the keys that you need. I have only two keys on my key-holder. I would carry my car key in it, too, but it doesn’t fit because my car key has a big knob that doesn’t fit into the holder, and would be too cumbersome in my pocket. The two keys in my holder are to my apartment here at the monastery, and to the chapel door. They are simple keys, but they speak volumes, and they admit me into a beautiful world of serenity and sufficiency.
My apartment is spacious and very comfortable. No one in our entire province has as much room or as tastefully decorated a lodging as I do. Living room, dining area, kitchen, office, bedroom and bath. All to myself! This computer with its printer, a telephone, a television set, a CD player, and a now old-fashioned phonograph that plays 33 rpm records of Mozart, Puccini, and Beethoven. Here I can read, pray, take my meals, entertain friends, conduct small classes, do counseling, take my daily nap, and then sleep at night.
In the monastery chapel, I can go into the presence of the Blessed Sacrament whenever I want, day or night. I celebrate Mass daily, attend the Sisters’ chanting of the Divine Office, or the Liturgy of the Hours as it’s called. So these two keys in their old leather holder which I keep on my person at all times open to me the doors to my little heaven on earth. And I use that expression literally as well as figuratively. Where there is God, there is heaven, and God is here in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the altar, in the beautiful monastic lives of the Sisters, and then in my own very happy existence.
Let me suggest that you look around and find some simple, everyday object that you use often and that is very much a part of your life. Then think about it; think what it means to you; how you would miss it if you misplace it—how you would miss the part of your life that it makes possible to you if you were deprived of that segment of your existence. And then be grateful to God for all that that represents. When you think about it, you’ll find that you are made happy more by the ordinary than by the spectacular. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.