Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving: Cartoons and Gratitude

Thanksgiving Day weekend is an American holiday. It's our version of the harvest celebration that I suspect most or all cultures developed: probably not long after shifting to agriculture as a source of food.

The American holiday, according to a Wikipedia article, "...has its historical roots in religious traditions, but today is celebrated in a more secular manner...."

I wouldn't mind if the religious aspects of Thanksgiving got a little more attention, but I also don't mind the secular angle: particularly since I can have fun with it.

(From Apathetic Lemming of the North (2012))

(From Apathetic Lemming of the North (2010))

Something I didn't see in the Wikipedia article was the American habit of visiting family during the four-day weekend. My wife and I are at the point where the kids come to see us, and that's another topic.

Theological Implications of a Spaghetti Hat

The poster featured a profoundly unhappy baby wearing a bowl of spaghetti. The slogan was something like 'thank God anyway.' Or maybe it was 'praise God anyway.'

It was cute, and made a sensible point.

Being thankful for good health, or an above-average income, is fairly easy.

Being thankful after coming down with the flu, or being fired? That takes effort.

Readings for November 22, 2012, Thanksgiving Day in America, included this:
"2 And now, bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth; Who fosters men's growth from their mother's womb, and fashions them according to his will!"
(Sirach 50:22)
Being alive could be near the top of a list of 'reasons for being thankful:' particularly when one considers the alternative.

- - - Aside from That, Pretty Good

I was used as a lab rat as an infant, without my parent's knowledge. (February 3, 2009)

I slogged through decades of undiagnosed major depression and ADHD-inattentive, or maybe Asperger's; lost a dear friend to suicide; and nearly lost my wife when one of our children died during childbirth. (June 3, 2012)

But aside from that, I've had a pretty good life:
"...I've been blessed with good parents, and a mind that's thirsty for knowledge. My wife stood by me through some very rough times. Four of our six children survived birth, and are as wonderfully varied a new generation as I could have hoped for...."
(June 3, 2012)

Emotions, Reason, and All That

I'm not one of those permanently-cheerful folks.

Even with pharmaceuticals that make thinking easier than it's been since my preteens, I'm all too capable of seeing life's serious side. Which doesn't make me a 'sour faced saint,' and that's yet another topic. (September 13, 2011)

I don't have anything against emotions: they're part of being human. But I try to avoid making decisions based on feelings.

If it sounds odd for a 'religious' person to say that: bear in mind that I'm a Catholic. We're told that:
  • Reason
    • Isn't opposed to faith
      (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 35)
    • Is a critical part of
      • Conscience
        (Catechism, 1778)
      • Human law
        (Catechism, 1902)
      • Natural law
        (Catechism, 1954-1960)
    • As intellect, an attribute of God
      (Catechism, 271)
    • An ability which makes human beings like God
      (Catechism, 1730)
  • Emotions
    • Are "natural components of the human psyche"(Catechism, 1764)
      • Aren't "good" or "bad" by themselves
        (Catechism, 1762-1770)
    • Should be governed by reason
      (Catechism, 1767)
    (December 18, 2011)
I've felt grateful: an emotion. I've also decided that I was grateful: a reasoned decision. There are times when I have to think a lot before deciding to be grateful.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.