Real gratitude is a spiritual practice. It is impossible to be alone or simply “the boss” when we allow ourselves to be filled with the spirit of thanksgiving. To be grateful for material and spiritual blessings is a start. In a month of weeks full of bad news, this is still true. Consider giving thanks, too, for challenges encountered along the way…. what gifts have accompanied your challenges?
One way, strangely enough, to ramp up the fine feelings of gratitude is to be more generous! Not simply as an exercise in “doing more” but, as a mark of membership in the family that together is called to receive God’s blessing.
Recent research shows that generosity is actually good for our health. And giving… of our time or our resources… offers satisfaction that has been shown to last longer than receiving! Something to consider this week, perhaps in light of this famous prayer, the Suscipe of Saint Ignatius of Loyola.
Here’s a Taizé hymn to accompany these thoughts.
The images in this post are Natasha Henderson’s Facebook image showing a portion of the Cathedral Thanksgiving decorations—all the food will go to the Food Bank—and the Taizé icon of friendship, a Coptic icon discovered in 1902. You can read more about that icon here.
[An earlier version of this reflection was posted in 2015.]