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The Healing Power of Gratitude

The Lord has taught me a mystery about the healing power of gratitude. I pray that this reflection will bless you with inspiration and fill you with peace and joy.

In a hectic, fast paced world we don’t always “live in the moment”. “Living in the moment” is to me like quietly savoring the flavor of a fine wine. You need to enter into the experience with a gentle persistence that fills you with awareness and understanding.   When we live in the moment we are usually more aware of the blessings that surround us.

Let’s try to put this into practice right now.

Pause for a moment to consider that this opportunity for us to connect is enabled by technology. Let us give thanks for the opportunity that technology affords for communication, sharing, learning, entertainment, friendship and growth be it personal or professional. Hundreds of years ago it would not have been possible for us to connect like this, so let’s thank God for the innovation that technology allows for.

I personally believe that God is at the center of all that is beautiful and that all gratitude should be given to Him, the source of every blessing.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

If you believe that God is the source of all that is good, then know that there is an opportunity for each of us to see His divine fingerprints everywhere if we choose to look for them!

As we enter the end of October in many places in our world, God is recoloring the landscapes. The trees that were once green in color are now different shades of yellow, orange and red. I rejoice in nature and in its many different and wonderful manifestations. At night I often hear the howling of coyotes and wolves in the forest surrounding our house.  Our neighbour has placed motion-activated cameras in the woods, so I know we have a large bear back there too.  I have seen the photos and I would be so grateful Lord that he does not come too close to our house!

I don’t take our freedom, peace and security for granted. I am mindful that many people are living in conflict zones and they are listening to the sounds of guns and bombs, as they fear for their safety. Let’s be grateful for our freedom and peace and continue to pray for an end to war and violence.

I am of the opinion that an “attitude of gratitude” needs to be cultivated. For most of us it doesn’t come naturally. It literally needs to be sparked by a persistent focus on the many blessings in our life. If we choose to focus on “what’s missing” in our life, we will be insufficiently grateful for “what’s present” that is enriching our life in some way.  Pause throughout your day to say little prayers of thanks to God and watch how these prayers have a healing power on your life.  Watch how they spark joy and peace in your heart.

A number of years ago I introduced a prayer before our family meals, i.e.,  “The Prayer called Grace”. We always stop now before we eat to say thank you to God for our meal, our health, God’s love etc. Our prayer reflects whatever we are experiencing in that day and we try to remember to pray for those in need.

I believe true gratitude always motivates charity. If we are really grateful we will give back as a sign of our gratitude. For example as we give thanks for not being hungry, we should consider helping charities that offer assistance to the poor and needy.

“Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.” Proverbs 28:27

The Bible is a great source of joy to me. To reflect on God’s Holy Word is at the heart of my life. I am grateful that the Bible was translated into my native tongue, English. There were many people who fought for the translation of the Bible. I am grateful their advocacy and struggle and hard work gave us the opportunity to savour God’s Word as a light that leads us onto holy paths.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”  Psalm 119:105

I have had the privilege to sponsor some children in the developing world.  We pay for their school fees so they can go to school. I recall so many times as my own children were growing up they would chant “we don’t want to go to school!” but my sponsor children write to me about how grateful and how very, very happy they are to be able to learn and go to school.

Why is it that gratitude emerges so easily when we find something or someone we love is missing in our life?  We say “oh how grateful I would be to have them back!”  Suddenly we are so aware of a vacant space in our heart, a hole that longs to be filled.

As I was praying for God’s inspiration to help me with this reflection, I felt God saying to my heart that what’s most important is not so much “what to be thankful for”;  the most important thing is to learn “how to be thankful”. If we learn “how” to be thankful we will begin to notice that “what to be thankful for” is all around us!

It is God’s grace and Holy Spirit that teaches us to see the blessings in our life.  I believe that spiritual transformation is enabled by many moments of gratitude that illumine our hearts and minds with a realization and an appreciation of God’s providence. A life devoid of gratitude is to me like food without spices; that life is bland and tasteless. The Spirit of God is like a gently breeze, it is discerned by some and not felt by others.

Let us pray for the Holy Spirit of Gratitude, a Spirit that will awaken us to being truly thankful for the things and people and opportunities that enrich our life–all holy blessings from God.

One of the sacred experiences I treasure which I know is subject to some controversy is the Mass. Some people I know no longer go to Church because they feel that the sins of priests have caused Jesus to “exit” from the Sanctuary. Let’s reflect on the Word of God seeking truth and wisdom.

Before Jesus died He celebrated a sacred meal with His apostles, a meal commonly referred to as “The Last Supper”.

Jesus “took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

Jesus said, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.” John 6:54-56

Following the Death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus, the Apostles did as Jesus requested and St. Paul warned them to be careful: “Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves.” 1 Corinthians 11:29

In the Sacrament of the Eucharist, which we celebrate in the Mass, we must discern the Body of Christ or drink judgment on ourselves. The presence of Jesus in the Sacrament of Love is not a function of the sanctity of the Priest, it is the exclusive work of the Holy Spirit that transforms ordinary bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus.

When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist with faith and thanksgiving, we give praise and glory to God.

Sometimes my Catholic friends say that the “music” or the “homily” (i.e., priest’s sermon) “takes away” from their positive experience of the Mass. To this I would say, “let nothing get between you and Jesus”. Jesus waits for us in the Sacrament of the Eucharist. It is the Work of the Holy Spirit of God that gives us this blessing and let nothing and no one taint it with any form of disappointment!

Bride of Christ receive your Holy Lord and do this in remembrance of the Holy One, Jesus Christ, who gave everything up to create a place for you in Paradise and to destroy the power of sin in your life today!  With wonder, awe and reverence let us approach this miracle of love–Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.

Let us be grateful for this time we have on earth for it is an opportunity to show God how much we love Him. Let us not take anything for granted. Let’s give thanks for everything: the food that graces our tables, our shelter, our clothing, our water, our jobs, our health, our healthcare and so many natural remedies, the music and artistic expression that adds beauty to our world.  Let’s give thanks for our freedom, for peace in our life, for the friends and family that help us to grow in love. Let’s rejoice in the simple things—a moment to laugh, to smile, to learn, to pray, to give, to share, to forgive, to be forgiven, to love and to live in God’s presence, for Him, with Him and in Him.

Thank You for Your love Jesus! Thank You for the gift of faith. Thank You for being willing to die for us! Thank You for guiding me and teaching me and being willing to live in an intimate relationship with me. I savor this time with You as a foretaste of the heaven we will have forever. Please guide us to do Your Holy Will and to treat all the gifts around us as treasures of Your love.

I will stop every day Lord @ the Time you died for us, 3pm, to remember Your Passion and to pray for all souls, that all people will come to know you and love you.  This daily moment of thanksgiving fills my heart with holy desire to please You Jesus!  You are my heart’s desire.  Without You I am nothing!

Please join me friends of Jesus in a daily prayer for peace @ the time Jesus died for us, 3pm (each of us in our local time zones). Learn more about the peace movement in the Holy Name of Jesus here.

“Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18