Thursday, November 26, 2015

Giving Thanks

Take a moment today to remember all the blessings of the year. Thank God for all the good things that have happened, and all of the gifts that you have received.

Why Give Thanks Just Once a Year?

St. Ignatius said that above all prayer, the most important prayer that we do is the Examen Prayer and he said that if we were to ever drop any prayer time from our day, this should be the last one to be dropped.

St Ignatius initially developed the Examen Prayer with five points. The first of which is Gratitude. This is very simple and can be done in just a moment each day. Take some time, perhaps before bed, to call to mind all the blessings of the day. Thank God for all the good things that have happened and all the gifts that you have received.

I have found gratitude for myself to be salvific. St. Ignatius says that if you spent the whole time simply in the step of gratitude, it would be worthwhile. And, if our hearts spent the entire time in this gratitude, that would be enough. You wouldn’t even need to go further in the Examen prayer.

The Eucharist, which means Thanksgiving, is the source and summit of our spiritual lives, and therefore, it ought to be the source and summit of our personal prayer as well. All is Grace. All is Gift. Everything is Holy. Everything’s a Miracle. And, it’s important that our gratitude be very specific and from our actual experience of the day. This will help us to genuinely realize God’s gifting us in a very personal way, and it will make it real for us.

So, try to remember that moment vividly. See it. Touch it. Taste it. Feel it. That’s God’s gift to you, and there’s nothing better than a gift that is accepted, appreciated, and delighted in.

We hear in the Gospel of John, “I am in You and You are in Me and without Me, You can do nothing.” We are nothing without God, and we have nothing without him. Everything that we have is his gift to us. Gratitude fosters a profound sense of humility and receptivity. It puts us in a position of realizing that we are ultimately poor, powerless, weak, and we can do nothing on our own.

We are completely dependent on God to provide for us. Gratitude helps us to realize that God gives us so much, and this will put us in a wonderful state of receiving the fruit of the Examen prayer. When we are grateful and humble, it sets us up to receive God’s grace. And, realizing that he provides for us, can shift us from being demanding and despairing to delighting in God’s goodness and the joy that will follow.

So, as you begin this point, think about your day with God, and thank him for the gifts that you have received. No gift is too great or too small, and be as specific as you can as you look at how he has provided for you from the very first moment of your day until the present moment. And, more and more, we will realize that all is Gift. Gratitude sets the foundation for trusting God, and once we have this trust, we can begin to look at our lives and allow ourselves to let him in.

Why Give Thanks Just Once a Year?


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