Our life is not our own; yet, at some level, enlightened people know that their life has been given to them as a sacred trust. They live in gratitude and confidence, and they try to let the flow continue through them.
Grace begets gratitude, which, in turn, widens our hearts toward greater goodness and love.
—Diana Butler Bass
The simple act of practicing gratitude disrupts negative thoughts and changes our mindset to see the world in a positive way.
—Doug Good Feather
We are to be grateful not just in the good times, but also in the bad times; to be grateful not just in plenty, but also in need; to maintain thankfulness not just in laughter, but also through tears and sorrow.
In the Eucharist, we are making a choice for gratitude, abundance, and appreciation for Another, which has the power to radically de-center us. Our lives and deaths are pure gift, and must be given away in trust, just as they were given to us as gift.
This capacity for grateful perspective is a muscle I needed to build and use, and it is still something I need to nurture and tend daily.
Father Richard reminds us of the simple yet powerful practice of “saying grace” or a prayer of gratitude at mealtime:
Many cultures and religions have a beautiful tradition of saying a prayer before or after a meal, expressing gratitude and asking for blessing. If we are accustomed to praying over our food, it may become a rote, almost thoughtless gesture. Yet it is another opportunity to intentionally open ourselves to receive and participate in Love. The food is already blessed simply by its existence. God doesn’t require our words of thanks. But it does us good to “say grace,” to verbally acknowledge the giving of life—plant and animal—for our sustenance.
If you have a practice of saying grace, bring greater awareness and presence to it. Find or create a prayer to voice your gratitude. This Hindu blessing, from the Bhagavad Gita, is said before meals:
This ritual is One. The food is One. We who offer the food are One. The fire of hunger is also One. All action is One. We who understand this are One.
Indeed, it is all One in the immense and undiscriminating Love that is God.
Adapted from Richard Rohr, A Spring within Us: A Book of Daily Meditations (Albuquerque, NM: CAC Publishing, 2016), 150.
Explore Further. . .
- Read Franciscan sister and Seneca elder José Hobday on “praying always.”
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Aaron Burden, Untitled (detail), 2022, United States, photograph, Unsplash. Vidar Nordli-Mathisen, Laughing Nuns (detail), 2018, Italy, photograph, Unsplash. Aaron Burden, Untitled (detail), 2022, United States, photograph, Unsplash. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.
Image inspiration: Thank you, Spirit, for life. Thank you for shared joy. Thank you for beauty. Amen.
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.