Gratefulness flows from the Supplies on the Journey mentioned in my previous blogs especially openness, wakefulness, attentiveness-mindfulness, wonder, and awe. Unless we have these dispositions or at least move toward them, a sense of gratefulness may be difficult but not impossible. Practice gratitude for the little things that happen to you or are around you. Be open, awake, and attentive. Let yourself wonder and be awestruck to the abundance of blessings already present.
The philosopher Plutarch wrote “most people by pass what is good and refreshing in their lives, and habitually focus on the unpleasant and bad elements.” Are you the type of person that sees the glass of water “half empty or half full?” As a pattern do you see life and people in a negative way, or do you see the goodness in each person in spite of their flaws? Think of a person you dislike. Does he/she have any qualities of goodness?
“Thou hast given me so much…Give me one more thing, a grateful heart” (Herbert, poet 1593-1633). Gratefulness is an expression of the heart. It is identifying our daily blessings, reflecting upon them, and expressing thanks to the Lord and to others.
It is interesting to note that Social Science Research has shown that practicing gratefulness makes people happier, strengthens interpersonal relationships, plus mental and physical well-being, and makes one more resilient in the face of difficulties. This is good news for all of us. Let us daily cultivate the disposition of gratefulness.
In closing, I quote Sister Edith Prendergast in her book Grace Abounds. “Each day we lift our gaze and see anew. We are invited to open wide not only our physical eyes, but the eyes of our heart, the eyes of memory. And as we do, we see beyond and beneath. Whole panoramas of goodness and beauty open up to us and we recognize the sacred at the heart of all reality.”
- Name three things for which you are grateful today.
- Are you grateful to God for you?
- Ponder these quotes from Brother David Steindl-Rast as found in https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/4182.David_Steindl_Rast
“One single gift acknowledged in gratefulness has the power to dissolve the ties of our alienation.”
“Everything is a gift. The degree to which we are awake to this truth is a measure of our gratefulness, and gratefulness is a measure of our aliveness.”
“We are never more than one grateful thought away from peace of heart.”
By Sister Marie Leonard, OSB