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Friends, today we celebrate the national feast of Thanksgiving. Biblical Christianity insists that our lives must be acts of praise and gratitude to the Creator.

Such obligations would indeed be burdensome and dehumanizing if they proceeded from a competitive and needy supreme being, but since they come from the one who cannot compete with us and who stands in need of nothing, they are in fact liberating. The gratitude that we offer to the true God is not absorbed by God but rather breaks against the rock of the divine self-sufficiency, redounding to our benefit.

In one of the prefaces to the Eucharistic prayer in the Roman rite of the Mass, we find this remarkable observation directed toward God: “You have no need of our praise, yet our thanksgiving is itself your gift, since our praises add nothing to your greatness but profit us for salvation.”

It is precisely because God has no need of our praise that our act of gratitude is a gift; it is precisely because God’s plenitude cannot be increased that our prayer intensifies rather than compromises our participation in the loop of grace.