Will you give Thanks this Thanksgiving Day? It surely is good to give thanks!


Thanksgiving Day. What’s it for? For some it’s a time get away for a few days—maybe to visit family in a different part of the country, or just chill out. For others it’s a family dinner followed by football watching and beer drinking. For still others it’s the dread of the first or the many holidays after the loss of a their Beloved in tears and in just plain shattered, empty loneliness.

For some children it’s like having to please of both divorced parents by being “shared” by both families on holidays. For still others—they’re always alone; some enjoying their solitude—others though perhaps sharing it with a bottle or pills.

How ‘bout you? Do you take the time on this holiday to Offer Thanks? Do we even think about the things in our life for which we are grateful? Or do we not care what this day means or should mean any more?

Here’s the Thanksgiving Proclamation of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1942—a year after Pearl Harbor and entering World War II.

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.” Across the uncertain ways of space and time our hearts echo those words, for the days are with us again when, at the gathering of the harvest, we solemnly express our dependence upon Almighty God.

The final months of this year, now almost spent, find our Republic and the Nations joined with it waging a battle on many fronts for the preservation of liberty.

In giving thanks for the greatest harvest in the history of our Nation, we who plant and reap can well resolve that in the year to come we will do all in our power to pass that milestone; for by our labors in the fields we can share some part of the sacrifice with our brothers and sons who wear the uniform of the United States.

It is fitting that we recall now the reverent words of George Washington, “Almighty God, we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy Protection,” and that every American in his own way lift his voice to heaven.” 

Note that he, as many other presidents before have, had no qualms about addressing the Almighty in his decree for the holiday, though we may also note he had no qualms about dropping a mighty bomb on Hiroshima three years later.

When I was in AA many a year ago, we were taught a very simple way to pray ~ to say “please” in the morning and “thank you” at night.  What could be simpler and more heartfelt? Thanks is on my lips and in my heart whenever I can accomplish something that I need to do ~ usually after I’ve said “Please help me do this, Lord.”  And that little conversation will take place quite often. So, for me, every day is a thanksgiving day! I get down on my knees every morning and thank God for another day and for other specific things.

I’m now in the fiftieth year of my priesthood, by God’s holy grace. As many of you, my readers know, mine has been an unconventional priestly journey as I have dealt with manic-depressive disorder along the way and later Parkinson’s that somehow disappeared after three years—again by the grace of God. I’ve also struggled from time to time with severe financial issues too. So, indeed, this has been an unconventional priestly journey, but one I’ve accepted as a grace, and for which I give thanks every morning and at every Eucharist.

Jesus has been so faithful to me and has lifted me up when I have fallen so, so many times.

I cannot tell you how much joy, how much love, how much gratitude I have for Jesus and my Diocese of Orlando for ordaining me a priest of Jesus Christ.

I have often referred in this blog to a short quote from St. Paul who seemed to struggle a lot too in his life too:

“ My grace is enough for you, for in weakness power reaches perfection,”and so I willingly boast of my weakness instead, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For when I am powerless I am strong. (2 Cor. 2:9-10)

I’ve lived a life of solitude for the past thirteen years—just me and Jesus and my two furry companions—first Shivvy, who passed away in November 2013 and now my little Shoney, whose already ten years old who still looks like and acts like a puppy.

I’m grateful for the solitude, too. It’s nice. People ask me what I watch on TV, and I tell them, I don’t have a TV and they’re astonished. I get my news online; that’s enough.

The silence can be penetrating. It connects you to the universe, you know. I love it. But I do hope to return to active priestly ministry for a few years. I am a good preacher and teacher and I still have many gifts to offer.

I am also very grateful for my dogs. A dog is a wonderful companion and my dogs have been designated as service animals, so they can go anywhere with me.

And Shoney gives thanks too, ya know. I often put my plate on the floor for him to lick the scraps. Well, the other night, he went to get one of his kiddies and bring it over to “share” in the goodies! He often he puts one of his kiddies in his food dish, but the other night he went across the room and brought one around to my plate just for a special treat. Wadaya think o’ dat?

I’m also very thankful for my condo-home. It feels just right for me. I’ve been here eleven years now. Like my mom before me, the walls of my house are painted my favorite colors; my living room and my bedroom are tiele; my master bedroom, which is my office is burgundy and my kitchen and bathrooms are goldenrod. I also have about ten of my own photographs professional framed throughout the house.

Oh, and I have a different car now. It’s a 2011 Ford Mustang and they tell me its Candy Apple Red. It’s a coupe, not a convertible, like the Mitsubishi was, but unfortunately, it’s been –um—through two accidents since I’ve had it.

So, I am very thankful for my home, for an enjoyable ride, for good companionship in my dog and, right now good healthful food on the table.

But most of all, for Jesus gift of love as a baptized Christian and then later, that he called me to his sacred priesthood—happy of trying to be his obedient priest-son for fifty years and beyond.

Last night, laying in bed waiting for sleep, I was reminded of a couple of important things for which I have been very grateful again and again—my ongoing education and the four freedoms we enjoy in our country and which I’m afraid we could very easily lose.

First of all, here’s a bit about my Catholic education. I went to St. John’s Parish grade School a few blocks from my home on St. Pete Beach and remember my excellent teachers fondly. Then I went to Bishop Barry High School in St. Petersburg and graduated as Salutatorian with a life-long tête-à-tête by email with the Valedictorian, (now Dr.) John O’Brien.

I entered the seminary directly after high school and was first assigned to St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut for my first two years where I met my first best-friend (now Dr.) George Ducharme. From there for six years I was under the influence of the Sulpicians, whose only task is the formation of seminarians. First, at St. Mary’s Seminary in downtown Baltimore, I had a great teacher there in Father Bill Lee who really taught me how to write.

For my final four years, Archbishop Hurley assigned me to Theological College of the Catholic University. During those years, my formation for the priesthood was broadened in many ways, particularly in regard to liturgy. The staff of the University asked me to initiate a Sunday Mass for the students in the crypt church of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I came away from T.C. with several life-long friendships—my closest one—Father Phil Stegeman who was ordained with me for my Diocese of Orlando died suddenly of a heart attack at age 47, a friendship that I’ve never been able to replace.

I did go away in my fifties in 1992 to get a second Masters degree in Professional Writing from Towson University (a suburb of Baltimore.) That was fun. I brought my father up there with me and made lots of friends up there too. I also helped out in a local parish and two convents. And that’s where I met my first doggie Shivvy. 

Now let’s turn to our appreciation, our gratitude, for what we have in our country. Our president keeps telling us to make America great again. But ought we not give thanks for the greatness that we have been for over two hundred years and the freedoms we’ve been given by the Constitution and that I fear we could so easily lose?

Riffing on President Roosevelt’s famous speech about four freedoms for the entire world in 1941, we have the same here:

  • Freedom of speech

  • Freedom of worship

  • Freedom from want

  • Freedom from fear

Now ask yourself how many of these are secure in the year of our Lord 2019?

I suggest this Thanksgiving Day we ought to be especially thankful and maybe get down on our knees and ask God as we understand God to secure these freedoms for our children and grandchildren.

So, Thanksgiving Day is not just about passing the turkey around the dinner table with the cranberry sauce and the gravy while the football games are on the TV in the background.

If you don’t start with GIVING THANKS, with the TV off and cell phones silent and everybody focused on what’s this day really is about, we just might not have too many more of these; we could very easily lose what we have.

Past civilizations who took for granted what they had lost what they had. Jesus warned Israel “ As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”  And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.” (Mark 13: 1-2.) And indeed the Romans did destroy the temple in 70 A.D. and brutally massacred 600,000 Jews.

I’ve been pleading with my readers since I inaugurated this blog in 2007 to enter into personal transformation for the sake of the spiritual transformation of our country.

And so let me conclude as I often do, with my own prayer . . .

Heavenly Father,

We are living in difficult times.

We do not know what lies ahead of us.

Some of us look forward with confidence;

others are fraught with fear.

But let us remember that if we look to you, Lord,

You will be our Strength and even our Joy.

Please be with us in our land today

and bless us.

Bless our President and elected officials

that they would serve all of the people of this land. 

And so, we give you thanks this day for all of the blessings

You have showered upon our country and each of us.

Please bless us most of all with peace among nations

and peace here at home.

 To You be all Glory and Honor and Thanksgiving. Amen!  


So, I hope you’ll make your own gratitude list.  And when you sit down for dinner on Thursday, why not take a moment to ask folks to first have a moment of silence to think of something that they’re especially thankful for this year.  And then ask each of them if they’d like to share it.  (The moment to think is important! Don’t skip it or else everybody will repeat what the last one said.)

And, if your family isn’t up to going around the table and saying what they’re grateful for, here’s an article that might help by a guy who wrote a book on gratitude: “How to be Grateful without rolling your eyes.” click here

” Rejoice always,

             Pray without ceasing.

 In all circumstances give thanks,

            for this is God’s will  for you in Christ Jesus.”

  I Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Now, before you go, here’s a slideshow on giving thanks. Click here.

I will publish the blog for the First Sunday of Advent on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Be sure to look for it!

Thank YOU, my beloved readers.

Bob Traupman 

With love,

contemplative writer

I’ve been silent but I’m Here

"The Luminous"  (c) bob traupman 2007. all rights reserved.
"The Luminous" a shot of my car windshield on a rainy night outside of a 7/11 (c) bob traupman 2007. all rights reserved.

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

I’ve been offline for awhile.  Still trying to fold blog-writing into an incredbly busy life for a retired person.  I have a small, quite needy little flock and they have needed my atention this past week.

And I am taking deep into my soul the events of last week — Dr. King’s legacy, and my own long standing commitment to non-violence of tongue and heart, the awesome event of the peaceful transfer of power in our nation.  I am so thankful that our Constitution still works.  God is indeed in control.  I pray without  ceasing for the transformation of our country and we just need to cooperate with the process.

And so there is much hope in Mr. Obama’s presidency.  I am very graterful for his decision to close Guananamo and to stop torturing humans, although the church itself has that dark stain on its soul.   But there is concern as well over the the rights of the unborn.  My approach to life is “Both / And” , not “either / or”.  The issue of abortion is highly complex and we are not communicating well on that issue.  We are divided.  I hope we can come to some dialogue.

Today’s we rejoice in the wonderful feast on the 2000th observance of St. Paul’s powerful influence as a writer. This moring I prayed that he would open a channel to me and guide my pen (or my cursor) that in my small way I could catch others up in the intimate love affair we  have with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  I just humbly ask that I might be influenced by his ability to love and care for the many communities that were in his heart and to write to them individually and so devotedly.  That is the one and onl purpose of this blog and all of my writing.

That was a bit of a segue but I wanted to comment on the insightful reflection that Bishop Michael Saltarelli  (retired bishop of Wilmington Deleware) in this morning’s Magnficat liturgical magazine. He said, “St. Paul understood how to influence non-Christian and anti-Christian mindsets with charity so as to be able to be an instrument of another mind’s enlightenment.

In the abortion debate, we have to stop condemning.  We have to be willing to listen.  And then respectfully dialogue.  With the President.  I believe he is being guided bythe Holy Spirit but needs to have an aha experience And what is the huge task –  with our whole culture.

I have been planning to write him  for over a year now.  The time has come to write it.  But also to our church and our culture as well. I ask for your prayers for the Spirit’s — and St. Paul’s guidance.  It may not turn out well.  It may be of little consequence.  But then again, it might.

Now just a little meditation on the picture above.

A photographer has to have open eyes ready to capture the moment. A second later and the light changes.

A photography notices the interplay of light and shadow and color.

And from a creative pulse that emerges from the depth of the soul the photographer is able to help other’s to see the beauty in simple things like raindrops on a car window, illumined by street lights that somehow capture two of my favorite colors — gold and tiele.  Simple things.  Right in front of us.  Be ready to stop and ponder their beauty.

That is what life is all about for me.

Dearest Lord,

Open our eyes, Lord,

so that we may see the beauty that is right in front of us.

Help us to slow down, Lord, trying to rush to the next place we’re supposed to be at

and miss the life that is happening right now.

Help us to take in the beauty, the wonder within a few feet of us.

Life is but a journey, Lord.  But the destination is not important.

Help us to take in the simple pleasures along the way.

Thank you, Lord,  for you are always present for those who have eyes to see.


IF YOU’RE ENJOYING THIS BLOG (1) leave a comment and (2) share the link with your friends.

With love,

Bob Traupman

priest / writer

Dawn’s early light

photo Bob Traupman 2007
photo Bob Traupman 2007

Shivvy and I make our way to St. Augustine Beach most mornings.

The sea and the sky and the shore are always changing so we do not know what to expect.

Shivvy cavorts freely and joyfully along the shore;
I stand on the three foot berm that runs for miles along the shore sipping my real Florida orange juice
as the last remnants of the night make room for this day’s dawning. As ever, this morning, I reflect:

There are sometimes dark clouds in our lives, Lord.
Pierce the gloominess of our lives with Your very own LIght.
May we allow You to dawn in us this day.
May we be ready for Your dawning in a new way in our lives this Christmas.
May this celebration of Jesus’ birth bring meaning and joy in the midst of our worries and concerns.
And may we BE the dawning of  your light and love and justice
in our homes, our neighborhoods, our jobs, our world.

And there are dark and ominous clouds over our land right now, Lord.
Pierce our greed and hate and fear and complacency and violence with hope, Lord.
May we pray earnestly for a new dawn for our beloved country.
May we BE the dawning of  your light and love and justice in our land.

Lord Jesus, come; may we be ready for the dawn of your coming in a new way this Christmas,
May the light of that dawning transform our lives and our land.
We need Your LIght and Your Love more than ever.

O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
O Antiphons

Bob Traupman
priest / writer
Thursday, December 6, 2007 / 8:04 AM / The feast of St. Nicholas

Intrigued by the shadows


I have learned to be intrigued by the shadows of my life, Lord.
The stronger the light, the deeper the shadow.
I have come to realize there will always be shadows.
I must accept the shadows of my life as well as the light; they will just always be there.
And so I now  pause for a moment when a shadow greets me;
 and take in its beauty.
Teach me to  stop and be confronted, to be changed,  by them.
This day, Lord, help me to realize what the shadows of my life can teach me
about You and Your great love for me.

Bob Traupman
   priest / writer
   Wednesday, December 5: 4:04 AM / The First Week of Advent, 2007