by BCBP Editor

By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila

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On October 29, we celebrated our company’s 52 anniversary. Yes, it hardly seems possible that the MAPECON has been in existence as the nation’s largest and leader in pest control excellence all these years! At the same time we celebrated the birthday of Jun Catan, MAPECON’s founder, inventor, entrepreneur, and my beloved husband. We had a simple celebration with our employees, giving out Loyalty Awards for those who have been with us for 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 35 years. I was touched to receive a 50-year Loyalty Award.

Our afternoon activities began with a Holy Mass celebrated by a good friend Fr. Pio Aclon. His homily was so appropriate for not only our celebration but for the seasonal holidays to come. He spoke about how important it is to always, every day, every moment give thanks to God for the gift of life, the many blessings He showers us with, and the gift of His Presence in our lives. Instead of asking and seeking so many things from the Lord, we should, instead of petitions, lift up our thanks and gratitude to Him. The more we come to Him with thankful hearts, the more He will abundantly bless us, Fr Pio assured us.

The second part of this thankfulness, according to Fr. Pio, is to ask ourselves: How can I live my life to be a showcase of God’s goodness? How can I share God’s blessings and be a blessing to others?

This spirit of gratitude and thanksgiving ushers in the end and the beginning of the Catholic liturgical year – Christ the King Feast Day and Christmas Day, plus various other seasonal celebrations observed during Advent. All these special times of the year are ones that we must be thankful for.
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Growing up in the United States, in the state of Vermont, I always looked forward to Thanksgiving Day every 4th Thursday of November. We gathered either at our home or at my aunt’s home for the Thanksgiving Meal, an enjoyable table fellowship. After eating while the grownups visited and caught up on family happenings, we children played games and tried to behave ourselves.

Thanksgiving is a big family day in the states, perhaps similar to Nov 1 here in the Philippines. A time for renewing family bonds and friendships, a time for sharing experiences, difficulties and blessings, and a time for thanking the Lord for His abundant blessings received throughout the year. Originally Thanksgiving was a harvest festival with the pilgrims thanking God for their arriving safely in the New World and providing them with abundant food and livelihood in the new land.

Advent is also a period of thanksgiving. We prepare for the faith celebration of the Birth of Christ. It is also a time for family bonding and friendships (think Misa de Gallo, going to the carnival, parties, caroling in the cool evenings, checking out those awesome Christmas lights and decorations, etc.), a time for sharing (think gift giving, shopping for just the right present, walking the Boulevard in the crisp December dawn with your sweetheart, etc.). And above all, a time to prepare ourselves to thank God for his son Jesus and the example set for us by the Holy Family.

We all need days of thanksgiving in our lives, in our families, among our friends. We sometimes forget to count our blessings and thank God for the goodness we have received, the people who have helped us survive, for friendships new and renewed, and for prayers answered in the year just past. A day of thanksgiving reminds us to give thanks where it is due.
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Sarah Ban Breathnach in her book Simple Abundance recommends that at the end of each day we list down five things in that day that we are grateful for. The catch here is that we should not repeat ourselves with the same things listed day after day. This would mean at the end of one month we would have listed 150 things we are thankful for; in one year we would have 1,825 things for which we are thankful. Wow! That is really celebrating the spirit of thanksgiving every day!

Since I began doing this, I have become more aware of the blessings that surround me every moment. The flowering vine in my garden welcomed me this morning with a single glorious blossom, its first since I planted it early last year. I had a good night’s sleep last night, even sleeping late this morning, after experiencing insomnia for several nights. There are four little birds singing cheerily in the tree right outside my window while I am typing my column. Three blessings and the day is not yet over!

The reverse side of this gratefulness exercise is to find five ways every day to be a channel of blessing to someone else. Advent is such a great season to practice this discipline. How can you be a channel of blessing to another? By a smile and an offer to help: babysit, shop or run an errand, prepare a special meal for the family, clean house, or decorate for the holidays, or even just stopping a minute to say “hi”. By lending a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on when someone is hurt and having a difficult time. By daily random acts of kindness and generosity, done sincerely and lovingly from your heart.
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Truly this is a time of the year, and the perfect time in our lives, to celebrate with hearts full of gratitude as we open our eyes and our hearts to a new awareness of everything around us, with us, and in us that we should be thankful for! May all our todays … and tomorrows … be genuine days of thanksgiving!

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