“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be ever in my mouth.” Psalm 34:2
One sure solution for dwelling on the negative is to do the exact opposite: count your blessings and be thankful.
Last week, we talked about “the grumbling syndrome,” and how letting God into our lives is the only answer to our discontent. Today I want to focus on a practice that gets us beyond the complaints of everyday life. It’s called being grateful.
Regardless of the day I’m having, I know I can always ask myself: “What are the things I’m most grateful for right now?” Some people talk about a Top Ten list, but my list—called “Thank you, God”—is more like a Top 100! It doesn’t take much to find reasons to be grateful, just a change of attitude. With a different mindset, a snowflake can be dazzling, and a child’s laughter can be a dose of medicine. The most common things of life have the ability to steady our ship and even guide us safely home—if we just see the hand of God at work.
One way to welcome God in is through prayer. Try sitting quietly for at least ten minutes a day. If walking is how you meditate, then ask God to join you and begin your prayer of thanksgiving. If you’re pressed for time, another technique is to begin and end each day by identifying just one thing you’re grateful for. When the practice of gratitude becomes routine—whatever that means for you—signs of God’s presence become routine, too.
You probably want to know what I’m grateful for. So many things for sure, but more than anything I thank God for the people in my life: my extended family and friends, my fellow missioners, and the families I served in Peru. I am grateful for you and your love of mission. In the hubbub of life, these are the blessings that can go unrecognized but are so worthy of gratitude.
Friend, one last thought: Think of the worst thing you did today and know you are forgiven. Think of the best thing you did today and know you are a blessing. Count those blessings up and you will be God’s messenger of mercy, love, and forgiveness.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Father Raymond J. Finch, M.M.
Prayer for 2nd Sunday
Thank you, God, for the gift of life
and for every breath I take
that reminds me of the miracle
of my being.
Thank you, God, for the mystery of time
with which to measure the wonders
of creation and the height and depth
of Your love for me.
Thank you, God, for the grace of memory
through which I cherish all that was,
and the grace of hope with which
I long for a brighter tomorrow.
Thank you, God, for the glory of a flower,
the beauty of a sunset, the majesty of a tree,
the freedom to pray and the wisdom to
thank you for all things.
Prayer by, Father Joseph Veneroso M.M.