The Bible offers many reminders for us to give thanks to God, such as “ Always be joyful; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks; this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. If the Word of God and over 2000 years of Catholic spirituality has not been enough to convince us of the necessity of gratitude, modern psychology has confirmed that gratitude is one of the key practices that correlates with feeling happy in life. As Catholics we understand that there is more to life than just “feeling happy.” Feeling happy is nice, but gratitude to God will also open our hearts to His love and bring a deep joy that is much more than happiness. This joy can be experienced even in the midst of sorrows and troubles.
Many psychologists, counselors and life coaches recommend keeping a “Gratitude Journal.” As Catholics, it could be beneficial spiritually and emotionally to spend a few minutes at the end of the day thinking about the good things in our lives, thanking God for them and then recording three of them in a journal. Another practice many find helpful is to make a “Gratitude List” and list all the things in our lives for which we are grateful. This is something we can look back on when we are having a difficult day or experiencing a devastating time in our life.
Expressing gratitude to God is also a type of prayer that we can practice throughout the day. We can tuck it in here or there, reminding ourselves of Who it is who painted the colors of the sunset, or appreciating the flower blooming through the crack in the sidewalk. Gratitude is a wonderful habit to cultivate that can change our lives and lead us closer to God. And that closeness to God brings the best happiness and joy!
What are you grateful for today?
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