Have you been following our series about spiritual wellness from retreat presenter and spiritual director Fr. Michael Schleupner? In today’s post, he reaffirms the importance of gratitude. You can browse through our blog at any time to review the other six posts in this series too. Let’s read Fr. Michael’s recommendations and tips to be thankful today so that we can strive for complete spiritual wellness in our lives!
Spiritual Wellness – 7Be Thankful
Dear Friends,Being thankful is essential for our spiritual wellness. Giving thanks to God opens us to an accurate sense of who we are and who we are in relationship to God and to others. Saint Ignatius of Loyola saw this as the heart of prayer and, therefore, of the spiritual life. Commenting on Ignatius and the prayer that he taught, one author says this: “Adopting an ‘attitude of gratitude’ can be a practical stratagem to get through a tough time. But the kind of gratitude that Ignatius was talking about when he tells us to ‘give thanks to God our Lord for the favors received’ is something deeper and stronger. It’s the heart of prayer. Such gratitude is a window into the deepest truth about ourselves – that we are caught up in a relationship with a loving God who is generous beyond our imagining. When we catch sight of this, giving thanks is the response. Gratitude isn’t a pair of rose-colored glasses; it’s the essence of our spiritual condition.” Maybe it is good to remember that being thankful may not come naturally to us. Why? Two reasons. We often take for granted the good things or blessings in our lives. And we often focus on what we don’t have rather than on what we do have. So, we may have to intentionally work at this. I offer three recommendations.
- Every morning, maybe as soon as we wake up, maybe while having our first cup of coffee, maybe driving to work, whenever it works for us, pray a prayer of gratitude to God. Begin the day with thankfulness to God.
- Make sure we thank God for the simple gifts that we can easily overlook. Our life, this day of life, our health or health care, a lasting relationship, family members and friends, food, heat, our car, our phone, and on it goes. In other words, start with the gifts that we might take for granted.
- And then make sure we thank God for any special things. Maybe a reconciliation with someone from whom we have been estranged. Maybe a warm text message from your husband or wife or from a son or daughter. Maybe a nice vacation or just an easy weekend. If we cannot think of any recent special things, look back in your life and recall something that stands out to you.
Let’s just remember that being thankful is part of spiritual wellness.~Father Michael Schleupner Quotation from A Simple Life-Changing Prayer by Jim Manney.
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