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Katie van Schaijik

Thanksgiving as an interpersonal act

Nov. 19, 2009, at 2:05pm

A letter-to-parents from the headmaster at our sons’ prep school today includes this reflection-inducing item:

The Angelic Doctor [St. Thomas Aquinas] describes thanksgiving as being a process, rather than an event. This process consists of three parts. First, we recognize that we have received a gift. Secondly, we honor the person who has given us the gift. Thirdly, we desire to make a return for the gift we have received.

Do I go too far in thinking that this is an admirable summation of the structure of all deep personal and inter-personal acts? The essence of personhood can almost be described in this trinitarian way. Receiving a gift; giving honor to the giver; making a return.


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