This month begins with a celebration of saints and saintliness and concludes with a celebration of both all that we have for which we can be thankful and the phenomenon of thankfulness itself. This month also marks the end of one liturgical year and the beginning of the next. The convergence of all these events reminds us of a basic truth of Christian life: relationship with God is oriented around gratitude. Thankfulness toward God for all that makes up our lives is the guide to and the product of being saintly.
“The original sin of Adam and Eve, the prototype of all sin, is presented as a failure to be receptive and grateful.” So writes theologian and author Ronald Rolheiser in his recent book, The Shattered Lantern: rediscovering a felt presence of God. He explains: “God makes Adam and Eve and places them in the garden and showers them goodness and life. They are given gift beyond measure and are promised that life will continue in this rich and good way on one condition – they are not to eat the fruit of a certain tree.” He goes on, “The condition God places on them is not an arbitrary or petty test…God has told Adam and Eve that they may receive life as gift, but they may not take life as if it were theirs by right.”