Gratitude, however brings with it its own special challenge – the challenge to use properly the gifts and advantages for which we are thankful. It’s been said that to whom much is given, much is expected.
Our standard of living may be quite high, but what about our standard of gratitude? We may be prosperous and enjoy physical strength; but are we also spiritually strong? Are we in complete possession of our soul? What are we doing for our fellow man who may not be so fortunate?
Every Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving, my student club goes out and provides breakfast, some hot food and a beverage, to the many hardworking day laborers (or jornaleros) who can be found outside in cold weather across the DMV. “Paying it forward” and providing relief are important lessons I seek to teach my students while they do something for others in the true spirit of Thanksgiving.
Brethren, if we truly care about the welfare of our fellow man, we must be willing, personally and collectively, to get involved and take action. To do nothing is to simply act as bystanders of the human condition and spectators to the progress of civilization. It’s simply about caring enough to do something, and Masons have promised to care. President Ronald Reagan once said it very well: “Thanksgiving has become a day when Americans extend a helping hand to the less fortunate. Long before there was a government welfare program, this spirit of voluntary giving was ingrained in the American character. Americans have always understood that, truly, one must give in order to receive.”
As your Grand Master, I urge you, the Masons of DC, to meet the challenge of gratitude. I thank you for your character and the dedicated work you do every day to make our Masonic “house” a happy home. You and yours have my sincere best wishes this Thanksgiving as well as the rest of the holiday season