Yesterday was the annual celebration of “Thanksgiving” and last night my lovely wife and I expressed to each other what we were personally thankful for.  Today that thought crossed my mind and made me wonder what people are truly thankful for in their lives.  So, I did a personal inventory and some of the things that I am thankful for is my wife, our children and grandchildren, our families, our continued good health, our continued good fortune in our way of life and our ability to aid those of us who are less fortunate.  I am sure that if I thought hard enough, that I could elaborate more, but I do not want to sound too selfish, like a new corvette convertible.  My only wish was that I could help those more deserving, but being retired does not lend itself to more prosperity.

I have always wished to be able to improve the lives of family and others and I do what I can, but it does not always seem to be enough.  I know that this comes from a desire to improve and make the world around us a better place.  It also comes from growing up with few personal possessions and a wish to improve my families’ lives financially.  So many of us dream the dream of living life with total financial freedom that we sometimes lose sight of what we have now and so we pursue that cloud with the silver lining.

In fact, on this day of “Black Friday” it was interesting to read about Pope Francis’ recent attack of unfettered capitalism as “a new tyranny” and beseeched global leaders to fight poverty and growing inequity.

In the 84-page document, Pope Francis criticized the global economic system, attacking the “idolatry of money,” and urged politicians to “attack the structural causes of inequality” and strive to provide work, healthcare and education to all citizens.

He also called on rich people to share their wealth. “Just as the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say ‘thou shalt not’ to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills,” Francis wrote.  “How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses 2 points?”

“I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.

In it, Pope Francis is most concerned about and he calls for an overhaul of the financial system and warns that unequal distribution of wealth inevitably leads to violence.

Denying it was simple populism; he called for action “beyond a simple welfare mentality” and added: “I beg the Lord to grant us more politicians who are genuinely disturbed by the state of society, the people, and the lives of the poor.”

Since his election, Pope Francis has set an example for austerity in the Church, living in a Vatican guest house rather than the ornate Apostolic Palace, travelling in a Ford Focus, and last month suspending a bishop who spent millions of euros on his luxurious residence.

So, I will continue to help those who are least able to help themselves and in the meantime, I will be thankful for what God has provided.  I hope that you all had a wonderful and joyous Thanksgiving and may God continue to bless your lives.