Fr. Leo Patalinghug
Thanksgiving is a religious holiday. It’s also a very Catholic religious holiday. Celebrate it with gusto!
But before historians, politicians and secularists get up in arms to blast my thesis, let me first explain what I mean by “religious” and “Catholic.”
The word “religion” has a few etymological origins. It has traces in the Latin verb relegare (“to send away or to give something up”). That’s where we get the word “relegate.” Religious people “give up” many things — whether it’s giving up other pursuits for prayer time or time to worship or via financial donations.
On that fourth Thursday of November, even moderate believers make efforts to put aside differences in order to be more peaceful and loving. Americans become more conscious of their neighbors by “giving up” their indifference to the poor by preparing give-away food baskets.
Even atheists “give up” time and energy to celebrate together (i.e., communion of persons) — giving up relaxation and replacing it with time spent for airline security and in traffic jams. On Thanksgiving, Americans may even pray before they eat their family meals. As such, Thanksgiving is truly “religious.” And that’s a good thing.
More appropriately, the word “religion” also comes from an understanding of the Latin verb religere, which means “to be bound together.” It evokes a sense of obligation, a pledge that unites us to something or someone.
Read more at National Catholic Register