Ut in gratiarum semper actione maneamus! --may we be always giving thanks
St Josemaria Escriva
My daughter and I both liked what Elizabeth Foss says in her book Real Learning about keeping a gratitude list during dark times in life. It can be as short as five items per day. My daughter quoted it here along with some lovely ideas for keeping a gratitude journal.
This discipline fosters gratitude. Over time, when you know that you are to be accountable to your gratitude journal, you begin to look for things to record. Slowly, you nurture a grateful heart.Reading Elizabeth's blog today I found this site: Suscipio. They have an end of week feature called Moments of Grace:
The beginning of the week starts in a flurry of things to do, places to go and people to see. The middle of the week is the push to get to the end of the week and the end of the week promises at least some respite. It’s in this end, this temporary intermission between the week and the weekend that we can pause, if only for moment and appreciate the moments of grace the week brought us.
I suppose because I am struggling right now I am seeking out these more inspiring and encouraging types of posts and ideas. I like the idea of reflecting on grace as I come to the end of the week. So here's mine
Paddy, my youngest, came in rather late last night and wanted to read next to me for a few minutes before he went to sleep. Here he is just a few minutes before his eyes started closing.
Thinking back over this week and how hard it's been even to get up in the morning, I realize how cheerful and comforting he has been during this time.
- When he walks by me he almost always stops to give me a hug and say "love you".
- He brings me breakfast almost every morning.
- He used to love sitting on the couch to eat lunch but when I told him I wanted to change that and have him eat at the table he has gone along with it faithfully even when I wasn't there to remind him.
I remember when I was up in Alaska for such a long time, how much I missed him. And how he said on the phone, when I asked him how things were going:
"A house isn't a home without a Mom."Me just being here, it seems, makes things all right for him. I am so grateful for that.
I am also grateful for the Church that helps me show gratitude even when I am not consciously expressing gratitude for things.
The Mass is a sacrament of thanksgiving. Just by participating we fulfill our obligation, often expressed in scripture and Church teachings, to praise and give thanks to God for what He has done. Saying a grace before meals is also a thanksgiving. Then there are feasts like the Divine Mercy and others that invite us to reflect on the treasures we inherit as members of His Fold. So I am already habituated to thanksgiving just by that.
As Paddy feels warmed just by my being physically here, and considers that is the factor that makes a house a home, Our Father is gracious enough to accept my presence in church and in the doings of the liturgy as a participation in His Presence. Feeling tired and low, I am thankful for that accepting love.