The Gift of Gratitude
By Karen Riobo
A trendy topic nowadays is being grateful and how it correlates to happiness! The key to this practice is to remove the focus on the things you do not have and place it on what God has already given you, and thank Him for them. It makes a difference when you name things; it helps us become more aware of our surroundings and what God is already doing in our lives. It helped me turn a negative mindset into a more hopeful and joyful one.
My encounter with this practice was at the confessional booth. At two different times in my life, two priests gave me the same advice “ ...make a list of the things you are grateful for”.
Although I was thankful to God for everything, my gratitude was not heartfelt. My mind and heart were not in sync. I was focused on when my blessing was coming so much that it led me to anxiety and despair. I needed to trust God above all things, fully believe that his plan is better than mine, and trust His timing. Thank God for the gift of the sacrament of reconciliation where Jesus meets me in my darkest moments and sets me free.
My prayer changed from a demanding request to a grateful supplication, letting God know how much I loved Him and was open to his guidance. I surrendered my timelines and embraced with a grateful heart all of His blessings. Ever since I started to thank Him and praise Him for everything, the good and not so good, I have felt at peace, and when I feel the anxiety creeping in, I start praising and thanking God.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6)
A grateful heart is open, happy, hopeful, ready to love in return. The Saints lived happy lives amid their challenging situations; sickness, opposition, and frustrations, but their radical love and faithfulness to the Father got them through it all as they trusted God’s goodness.
“The secret of happiness is to live moment by moment and to thank God for what He is sending us every day in His goodness.” – St. Gianna Beretta Molla.
“Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” – Saint Mary Euphrasia.
“Thank God ahead of time.” – Bl. Solanus Casey
The Thanksgiving Holiday is one of the most celebrated in our country, not only because it is not attached to any religious practice but because families come together to feast and be grateful for the blessings received throughout the year. It is a joyful celebration where we all share generously with others our gifts. May this Thanksgiving day be a joyful one!
Thankful For Today
We thank you God,
for creating the world
and for preserving it until now.
We thank you for the regular return of day and night,
and of the seasons,
and for the dependability of nature and of time.
We thank you for memory,
which enables us to build on the experiences of the past;
which admits us to a wider world than we could otherwise know;
and for foresight,
by which we plan for the future.
We thank you for your patience with us in our failings;
for friends and family with whom we can celebrate our successes;
and for those closest to us who support us in our times of need.
Bless this meal and us gathered here.
Bless those who have little food or friends to comfort them in body or spirit.
Bless those who are unable to be with us this day,
and those who have gone before us in faith.
We ask this in Jesus name.
- Author Unknown