The Gospel a few weeks ago brought us the story of the ten lepers, all of whom Jesus healed, only one of which returned to give thanks to God.
I was struck by Christ’s mercy to allow the other 9 to keep the gift of healing even without their acknowledgment of the source for all their joy.
Growing in gratitude is a willful act, particularly on days when it is raining or car breaks down or you’ve gained a pound or the kids’ schedule makes your knees weak.
How one grows in gratitude is the struggle of adult Catholic life. How do we come to know more deeply how blessed we are to have the sacraments, to have the saints, to have the Blessed Mother, to have Christ? How do we make sure we aren’t just walking away from Christ as soon as He’s answered our deepest prayers? How do we make sure when we receive the gift of Him, which is beyond what we expected or even dared hope, our hearts rejoice? How do we makes sure, we remain vigilant, watchful, aware and in awe?
We will become more aware of God’s blessings, of Christ’s presence in our lives, as we become more accustomed to noticing all the ways in which He already graces us. It is as if our eyes of faith need to grow accustomed in order to see more and more of Christ’s light. Counting our blessings helps us become more capable.
Praying for many of us may start as just practice. Sooner or later, God breaks in and interrupts our attempts to keep Him at a distance, sometimes through miraculous acts, sometimes through drawing us to others, sometimes through struggles.
Prayer however, is the most direct way to invite God into our hearts, which will in turn, grow our own sense of gratitude. For me, it is the rosary. Every day, somehow, I need to reach out, and Mary and those prayers, those familiar prayers that require at least 15 minutes of my time, are my lifeline to grace when everything is crashing down around me. (Like when there are fights or the dryer breaks down or I have an impossible amount of work to do in a limited amount of time). I can feel the weight of the world heavier when I fail to allot some portion of my day to this simple method of prayer.
My small successes this week include:
- Getting the laundry done. Now I get to start on the socks!
- Going to a dance with six of my children and having an absolute blast looking like a total loon. I am a dancing fool and love getting the opportunity to prove it.
- Making the invitation for my daughter’s Halloween party. Sometimes planning is more exhausting than the hosting, and for some reason, I’d just not been able to summon the will, but this past Saturday, we set the date, the time and the plan in motion. Now, we get ready!
Now it’s your turn!
Share your 3 (or more) small successes from this week and know we’ll all be cheering for you!
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Copyright 2013 Sherry Antonetti
About the Author
Sherry Antonetti is a Catholic published author, freelance writer and part-time teacher. She lives with her husband and 10 children just outside of Washington, DC, where she's busy editing her upcoming book, A Doctor a Day, to be published by Sophia Institute Press. You can find her other writings linked up at her blog, Chocolate For Your Brain! or on Amazon.