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rendering thanks

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 24, 2005

If you have a queasy stomach, you won't want to read the following near dinnertime. If you have diabetes, you'd better not read it at all. Quarried from that tin mine of 1970s liturgical dreck, The Prayer of the Faithful (New York: Pueblo, 1977), these are petitions to be read at Mass on Thanksgiving Day. Not, repeat not, a parody.

CELEBRANT: As consumers, we are conditioned by our economy never to be satisfied. But God, too, is a fantastic supplier, and we stop and take a sample inventory on this special day for giving thanks.

LEADER: For the smell of new rain, for pumpkins, and Snoopy, for the aroma of homemade bread, for cotton candy, for funny looking animals like giraffes and koalas and human beings; let us give thanks to the Lord.

2. For the smell of fall in the air, for pay checks, and smoked ribs, for the intricate designs of window frost, and for ice cubes and ice cream; let us give thanks to the Lord.

3. For clean sheets and peanut butter, and perma-press, and stereo-headphones, for vacations and seat belts, for escalators, and for views from tall buildings, and for red balloons; let us give thanks to the Lord.

4. For first romances and second romances, for eyes to see colors and ears to hear music and feet to dance, for dissenters and the right to dissent, for black and red and brown power, for pine trees and daisies, for newspapers and sandals and frogs; let us give thanks to the Lord.

5. For parks and woodsmoke and snow, for the smell of leather, for funny buttons and powerful posters, for pecan pies and long hair and french fries and re-cycling centers, for jet planes and for finding a nearby parking space, for zoos and splashing fountains and rock music and Bach music, let us give thanks to the Lord.

CELEBRANT: God, you overwhelm us with your goodness. And we have yet to mention your greatest gift, our brother Jesus! For these and all your gracious gifts please help us to learn how to live thankfully each day.

Look at it this way: It makes you thankful they weren't read at your own parish today, doesn't it?

As a museum piece, these prayers serve as pretty good specimen of progressive churchmanship, circa 1971. You notice the studied cuteness and affected juvenility also seen in the Corita banners of the era, as well as that air of self-satisfaction in the pretend naughtiness ("for the right to dissent ..." etc). It's easy to image Leader and Assembly beaming congratulatory smiles at one another: "Aren't we adorable?"

That was the point, of course. And for the Gather Us In crowd, it still is.

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