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"To love and serve our neighbors as ourselves."

The “giving” in Thanksgiving means to give in more ways than one. It is a time to give thanks to God for the bounty of blessings He has given us: for our food, shelter, family, and everything in between. But just as importantly, it is also a time to give to others; to demonstrate our faith by loving our neighbors as ourselves and giving what we can to those in need.

As we gather around the table for dinner with our family and friends, it is important to remember that many people are not in a position to enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving feast, or to be surrounded by the warmth of loved ones, or even to have a roof over their heads at all. The Lord said that it is our duty as His followers to help such people, as scripture reminds us frequently:

“The righteous gives and does not hold back.” Proverbs 21:26

“You must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35

“Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.” Deuteronomy 16:17

“He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

What may seem miniscule for us to give could mean a world of difference to someone in need. Last year, Susan F., a recently widowed mother working to support her two daughters, found herself in the distressing situation of not being able to afford heating costs. With the help of Catholic Charities, Susan was able to afford heat for the remainder of winter and is now doing much better.

“It’s hard enough when you can’t give your children the holidays you know they deserve,” says Susan. “But without heating, we would have had none at all… I don’t know where we would be today.”

This Thanksgiving, remember to express your Catholic faith by giving in some way, no matter how big or how small.

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