“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” Thessalonians 5:18
A Word of Hope
Today is World Gratitude Day. “Gratitude is the expression of appreciation for what one has. It is a recognition of value independent of monetary worth. Spontaneously generated from within, it is an affirmation of goodness and warmth.” When life is good, it is relatively easy to express gratitude, Today’s passage from Thessalonians tells us, however, to give thanks in ALL circumstances. This makes expressing gratitude much more challenging. Why and how do we offer gratitude for a lousy day or devastating news?
Faith is what gives us the strength to search for and find hope. When we are facing dark times, the gratitude that we offer is for knowing that Jesus promises us this hope in the resurrected life. To have a faith strong enough to be grateful even for the darkest times takes practice. Faithful people spend an entire lifetime developing and practicing spiritual disciplines. Think about spiritual disciplines like you might think about a habit, preferably a good habit. Habits are some pattern of behavior that we have done so regularly for so long that we do them instinctively. Spiritual disciplines create that same kind of instinctual action or attitude around such things as prayer, living simply, loving all of your neighbors, and finding gratitude in all circumstances.
Keeping a gratitude journal is a way to begin such a spiritual practice. At the end of each day, make a note of at least one thing, big or small, for which you are grateful. In your nighttime prayers offer thanks for this thing. Recognizing reasons, no matter how big or small, to offer gratitude is what it takes to keep our faith strong and hope alive. And sometimes, it is what we need to make it possible to get up, put one foot in front of the other, and face the next day.
Loving God, as I greet today, help me to strengthen my faith such that in all circumstances I am able to find hope and be grateful. Amen.
Order of St. Francis and St. Clare