At our Catholic school, there was a sister who exemplified gratitude, and living as if her glass was always half full. Sr. Carol was a joyful person, always ready with a hello and a smile! She even arranged a song that many of the students and parents would sing at our school Mass: “Attitude of gratitude. Attitude of gratitude. With grateful hearts, we do our part to serve.” She understood that our attitude of love led to helping others.
Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is our source and summit of thanksgiving and love. He showed us how to have grateful hearts and how to live as thankful people. Thanksgiving is about our disposition and how we choose to live! It is our awareness of our blessings and appreciation of living in the moment for what Christ has laid before us. When we embrace what it truly means, it gives us the power to live more deeply in our desire to love and serve others. In giving of ourselves is where we find that joy! This must be the greatest gift – using our life to affect others — in thanksgiving for all that God has first given to us.
Regardless of how kind or helpful we are, we know that there is always room for us to increase our gratitude for our life. There seems to be three steps that lead to that deep understanding of gratefulness.
• First, when we wake up in the morning, immediately thank God for the day and pray to only accomplish what is pleasing to him. This way when something unexpected comes up and changes our plans, we can adjust our schedule knowing that it was part of God’s plan for us that day.
• Secondly, make a point to look at the blessings in your day. When people irritate you or work is awful, you get bad news that changes your life, a client cancels the order, finances are difficult — search for the gifts in your day. Try to embrace what is good in your life. Know that God loves you and is always beside you. This will assure your growth in a joyful disposition.
• Third, remind yourself that everything good comes from God and we are called to use these gifts to build a vibrant culture of life. Serving others transforms our own hearts! So even though we may be helping them, we receive an abundance of graces from God!
From my family to yours, we wish you a blessed Thanksgiving, that you may understand that even among your daily trials and sufferings, a grateful heart will transform your life to realize the fullness of what God has in store for you.
Pallini is the respect life consultant for the Green Bay Diocese.