Catholic Husband

Love / Lead / Serve

True Gratitude

Thanksgiving is a remarkably calm period in my life. Not only does it signal the final few weeks of the year, but around this time, I get a palpable feeling of renewal. Major projects are winding down, and I start to ruminate on the bigger things in life. I reflect on the year that was, and start to plan for the year that is to come.

Amid this pause, we collectively take a breath and focus on gratitude. This year, my thoughts are turning more towards true gratitude. It’s simple, and right, that I should be thankful for the many helping hands in my life, or the relative peace that my family enjoys. But true gratitude goes back to the source; true gratitude orients our minds and hearts to the giver of all good gifts.

Our spiritual health functions in much the same way that our mental and a physical fitness do: all need daily attention. In a day stuffed full of commitments, we contend with the paradox of priorities. When the time comes for prayer, we feel that resistance to do something else on our list. We know the good that we ought to do, and too often choose something lesser.

Prayer isn’t about an appointment on the calendar or a time block in your day. It’s a connection with our core identity. Before He formed us, He knew us. Before we took our first breath, He knew all of our sin. Despite our failings, He chose to live and die just to be with us. He lives the deep longing of a parent to connect with their child. He patiently waits for a few moments of our day.

True gratitude is a recognition that everything that we are, and all that we have, finds its source in God’s love. Surrender to that love is the beginning of gratitude. By shifting our mindset, prayer goes from and obligation to opportunity. Prayer is a respite of calm in an ocean of chaos. The more time we spend in quiet conversation with God, the more our hearts become like His. As we draw ever nearer to Him, we experience a love that gives everything to us and for us. With that measure of wisdom, we can experience true gratitude for the many, many gifts in our lives.