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  • Devin O'Donnell

On not giving thanks – Part I

Updated: Nov 16

Scripture declares that we should not "complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer. Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:10-11).


We are near the holiday of Thanksgiving. Before we can discuss all the precious ways to decorate a Thanksgiving table runner or create pilgrim-turkey-shaped cookies, we should think on how to make a better practice of giving thanks. But it's fitting that we contemplate what Thanksgiving means first, and one way to understand what something is to understand what it is not. We all know the opposite of thanksgiving is complaining. But what is a complaint?


A complaint is basically a statement about how bad things are. We complain when we suffer or when we judge things to be unsatisfactory. The deeper question is an epistemological one, that is, how do we know our assessment of a given situation is right? Can we trust our own judgment of things? Anyone who has lived a year or two in this world will know that we can’t always trust our initial feelings about things. Or our initial assessment. Think about an infant. We learn the shrieking of a baby is just “gas” or “teething.” And when we meet with an ordinarily hard situation (getting sick, missing our flight, locking our keys in the car, waiting for our friends), we express our discontent. But what we forget is that we are actually making a judgment about the world.


But what kind of judgment? Understood properly, a complaint really is a hasty judgment, a critique before we might have the whole picture. How often have we misinterpreted a situation, thinking it was worse than it really was. Philosophically, a complaint is a lack of wisdom. It pronounces an impulsive verdict without divine knowledge, that is, without the understanding that only God possesses. It is, therefore, a lack of faith.



Agenda for Monday:

  1. Prayer & Catechism

  2. POL Recitation 1

  3. Finish Reading Journal (11/15): Show Yourself to the Priest

  4. Read Leviticus 13:1-8; read Luke 17:11-20

  5. What is the "literal" reading of this passage?

  6. What is the "allegorical" reading?

  7. What is the "anagogic" reading?

  8. What is the "moral" reading?

  9. Questions & Answers for Till We Have Faces

  10. Harkness Monster Truck Rally and Literary Explosion Conference

  11. Dig Deep 2 – read chapter 6 by end of this week

  12. Remember the HW!

REVIEW HW:

  1. Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. Pray, that you may not stumble.

  2. Questions & Answers for Till We Have Faces – due 11/17

  3. Harkness Monster Truck Rally and Literary Explosion Conference – 11/17

  4. Dig Deep 2 – finish reading Four Loves by end of this week (11/18)

  5. Memorize Poetry Out Loud (POL) selections

  6. POL Recitation 1 – due next week (11/12)

  7. POL Recitation 1 – due next week (11/29)

  8. 12 line Imitation due Wednesday (12/1)

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