Pathways - Lent III

Posted: 3/9/2012

Lent III - Gratitude 

For more reflection on the virtue of Gratitude, you are invited to go here>>>

Perhaps the most honest response of our hearts when we feel connected to God is gratitude. Some of us may have experienced this connection personally in prayer, at the Eucharist, or in those still quiet moments. Others of us have heard the voice of God in the words of a song or the voice of a child, or have felt it in the hands of someone who reached out to us when in need. At times we have known this connection in the love of nature, good food and wine, or passion. When God feels closest and we are aware, our natural response is one of gratitude. We need not think about it or generate it. It comes naturally. We give thanks. We are grateful.

The virtue of gratitude reminds us that, as Christians, our God is a God who lives with us. Our God is engaged in the everyday moments of our lives. When we give thanks for this rich love of our God, our souls open up. We are more porous as people, less judgmental. When we practice gratitude, we are able to see the many gifts around us. Even in the midst of great pain, it can bring us a glimpse of joy.

Consider the following:
This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.
(Psalm 118)

Gratitude . . . goes beyond the "mine" and "thine" and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of the gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline . . . the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy. (Henri J.M. Nouwen)

These quotes remind us that gratitude is a natural response from our hearts, AND is a virtue we can cultivate - a discipline we can intentionally choose which consciously connects our hearts, souls and minds to God. Like charging our IPhone, we are recharging our Spirit's energy. The best part is that gratitude is a discipline our hearts take to easily. Our minds may struggle with thoughts that giving thanks is challenging. But our hearts know better and can lead us in this practice regularly, daily. The impact this discipline will have on our lives is profound. To begin, all we need is to do is see that all we have is a gift from God . . . a God who is grateful to have us.

For more reflection on the virtue of Gratitude, you are invited to go here>>>