Did you know that the first Thanksgiving was Catholic? True story. Check out the story at our brother site, Catholic Exchange.
Well, since Americans are so diverse and the holidays is rooted in Catholicism, I thought it would be fun to take a look at some “thanks” words from different languages that heave heavily influenced Catholicism in America.
The Old English word for “thank” is thanc. You might guess that “thanc” sounds like a bad grammatical word for the past tense of think. But you know what? Thanc means “thought” in the Old English, so you were right in your guess! Cool fact to share at parties right?
Key takeaway: To feel grateful in your heart, make a conscious effort to have give thankful thoughts in your head. Yes, there actually is a distinction between the gratefulness and thankfulness even though they are commonly used interchangeably.
The Italian word for thanks is “grazie.” Most people know that already. But, check it out. Grazie is closely spelled to the Italian word grazia meaning “grace.” Italians correctly connect thanks with God’s supernatural life that he shares with us. That’s why—to get deep for a second—that the virtue of thanksgiving can fall within the category of Sacred Virtues. Unselfishness and justice fall into the social virtue category. Compassion and kindness are interpersonal virtues. Chastity and patience are personal virtues. Virtues can go into all the categories to different degrees but they can be compartmentalized for the most part.
Before we move on to Greek, I know there are going to be people who are thinking, “we can be thankful for natural things, too.” Yes, we should definitely be grateful for friends, family, food, and shelter. But we would not have all of these natural things if it weren’t for the ultimate Giver of all good things.
The Greek word for “Thanksgiving” is eucharistia. So remember that our thanksgiving meals at our “family home” points to the ultimate thanksgiving meal at our family-of-God-home! There are so many things to be grateful about concerning the Eucharist. Two needed to be mentioned: 1) His Presence that He is always with and near us and 2) the graces received through reception of the Eucharist.
“Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? Was no one found to return and give glory to God except this foreigner?” Luke 17:17-18
“Ingratitude is a searing wind which dries up the springs of pity, the dew of mercy, the streams of grace.” — St. Bernard
“We should thank God for beer and Burgundy by not drinking too much of them.” — G.K. Chesterton
“Jesus does not demand great action from us but simply surrender and gratitude.” — St. Therese of Lisieux
“O Lord, that lends me life, lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.” — Shakespeare’s Henry VI.
And before closing, I’d like to give a big thanks to Shaun McAfee and his EpicPew apostolate! In contributing and writing articles, I pull out books I haven’t read in a while, then develop more love for the author—which then leads me to buy more books from that author! (my pocketbook does NOT thank you, Shaun! haha)