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An Attitude of Gratitude

Fr. Luke A. Veronis

Lord, help me to have a continual “Attitude of Gratitude.”

Do you remember the story of Jesus healing the man born blind? Do you think he was GRATEFUL for receiving his sight?  Do you think he had a spiritual conversion, that for the rest of his life he told others about the man Jesus, who gave him his sight?  And not only physical sight, but also spiritual sight, so that henceforth he could see God in all that happened around him and glorify Him, as the Scripture says!  Whatever this man was before his encounter with Jesus, he became a different and better person after that encounter! Hopefully, he became a person of deep gratitude.

“Lord help me to have a continual “Attitude of Gratitude.””

When something in life happens that improves us in one way or another, do we become more grateful?  Do we have the eyes to see God’s blessings all around us?

Think about this week of Thanksgiving. How many of us can go to the supermarket to shop for thanksgiving? Did we leave that supermarket filled with gratitude - gratitude for all the workers who are always so helpful in serving us? And what about the abundance of food that is available to us? And for the resources we have to provide for our families and have such meals of abundance not only on Thanksgiving, but every day.

Thank God for the turkey and ham, the vegetables and fruits, the homemade pies and cakes, and for all the other food we eat.  Thanksgiving meals symbolize the abundance of blessings we have in America. One need only shop occasionally in a Super Market to feel gratitude for all we have. I remember not too long ago, after the fall of communism, when some Eastern European immigrants came to America from their communist lands. When I asked these people what impressed them the most about the United States, I often heard the same response, “The supermarkets! We have never seen such a variety and abundance of food as in the supermarkets!”

“Lord help me to have a continual “Attitude of Gratitude.””

During these days before Thanksgiving, I have had the blessing of delivering 68 turkeys, along with beautiful Thanksgiving Baskets and gift cards to families that appreciated some help for their holiday meals. As I was giving out these turkeys and baskets, I kept thanking God for all those in our Church Family who donated the turkeys and who put together such beautiful baskets of love. Then I thanked God for the opportunity to offer these gifts of love to families that could use the help. Then I thanked God for the inspiration He has given us to share our bountiful gifts with others. I truly experienced the words of our Lord, when He said “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Walking away from each family, I thanked God for that blessing to share our abundance.

“Lord help me to have a continual “Attitude of Gratitude.””

Our Christian faith proclaims Good News of God’s unconditional, unending, intimate love – a divine love which surpasses all other blessings; A love that forgives us our countless and continual sins; A love that values each of us and cherishes us in our uniqueness; A love that heals us from our deepest brokenness, loneliness and illness; A love that doesn’t abandon us in our final moments of life, but gives us hope and victory over death itself. Our faith offers a love that continues into eternity!

When we understand our Christian faith, and sincerely strive to walk with Jesus Christ and allow His Spirit to dwell richly within our hearts and minds, an attitude of gratitude becomes an obvious and beautiful fruit of our faith. Of course, the opposite is true as well. When we don’t express gratitude, we are spiritually sick. An inability or a forgetfulness to thank God for our daily blessings, and to thank those around us who bless us with their words, their actions, and their lives, is a serious sign of spiritual pride and illness!

“Lord help me to have “An Attitude of Gratitude.””

God’s will for us is to be filled with joy and thanksgiving. His will is NOT for us to complain about life, to grumble about what we don’t have, to whine about our circumstances, or to compare how others may have something we don’t have. Our Lord Jesus wants us to face life with the joy of thanksgiving!

How beautiful it is to live with an attitude of gratitude. If we can maintain such a spirit, it transforms our whole perspective on life. We won’t focus on what we don’t have, or on what others have. Instead, we thank God for each and every blessing, and strive to help those who don’t have what we have! We give thanks to God for life itself; the world around us; nature and beauty; love and family and friends; health and well-being; for our Lord Jesus Christ and His beloved Church; faith and the meaning of life it gives us; the opportunity to experience the Kingdom of God here and now.

Living lives of gratitude means even giving thanks to God when we face the unexpected and tumultuous challenges and tragedies of life, for when we face life’s challenges with gratitude, we will learn new perspectives and grow to new heights.

“Lord help me to have “An Attitude of Gratitude.””

As we celebrate our national holiday of Thanksgiving, it’s a great time to reflect on what role GRATITUDE plays in our daily lives, and think about how we can make thanksgiving a more central part of who we are.

As Thanksgiving passes, let’s not leave behind our attitude of gratitude, but let us strive each day to see all around us our countless blessings. I’ve mentioned this in the past but want to keep reminding us of it. A simple yet powerful habit that each of us can strive to do at the beginning of every day, which will help us live with an attitude of gratitude, is this - before we get out of bed each morning, let’s make our cross and thank God for five things in our lives. Each morning, thank God for five different things, little and big. If we begin each day in this manner, we will cultivate and nourish a spirit of thanksgiving and gratitude.”

“Lord help me to have a continual “Attitude of Gratitude.””