Guest Post by Ashley from mode of grace
During the Christmas season, we reflected on the coming of Jesus Christ as a tiny babe made incarnate on earth. His presence among us was God’s supreme gift to mankind, and indeed He continues to live amongst us daily, made present on every Catholic altar in the world every single day in the Eucharist. He is available for us at any moment, ready to listen to us with an understanding ear.What a cause for gratitude this is! In fact, in this recent article on Inside Catholic , Mark Shea wrote a reflection on the meaning of the Eucharist: “thanksgiving.” In “A Few Gratitudes,” he says:
“The center of our center of our faith is the Eucharist. Eucharist means thanksgiving. That means the center of our Faith is thanksgiving.”
I am in love with this idea of thanksgiving and gratitude.
As Deitrich von Hildebrand says,
“Gratitude is the gateway of love.”
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Thank you. No, Thank You,” stated that “grateful people are happier long after the leftovers are gobbled up.” Developing an attitude of gratitude is invaluable for us because we are creatures to which everything we have been given is an enormous gift. A heart overflowing with gratitude is one that is receptive to all of the good things that the world (ultimately, God) would have in store for us. So, while the season of Thanksgiving may be passed, and the Christmas season is now behind us, we have recently welcomed a brand new year. As one of my New Year’s Resolutions, I am striving to foster a deeper appreciation for the simple things in my life.
Life is busy. It flies by and we get caught up doing a million little things. When is the last time we sat down and thought about how many things for which we have to be grateful? I know I don’t do it enough. So, to aid me in this process, I have decided to create what I call my “Gratitude Box.” In it, I will capture those small moments that bring joy: “catching all the green lights on the way to work,” “a fresh snowfall,” “a full tank of gas.”I was inspired by a post in Real Simple recently about a woman who had her “God Box.”
Inside were hundreds of little messages that she had written to God over the years. A little prayer, a whisper of thanks, a desperate plea — all of them put together formed a little glimpse into an incredible friendship with God. Another woman recently wrote a book about growing in happiness, called The Happiness Project. In one year, she divided her months into specific goals: “Read more Aristotle” (an attractive prospect for someone with a Liberal Arts education, lol) “Sing in the car,” “Learn the guitar.” The goals are cute and in keeping with the idea of being proactive about our outlook on life.
In my “Gratitude Box” I will fill out little slips of paper each day. On each one, I will list a small thing (or large) that brought me happiness or that I appreciated that day. Little by little, (I hope!) it will help me be more grateful. If not, I will have a lot of fun at the end of the year going through the box and remembering all those great moments!
Today’s piece of paper? Receiving a letter in the mail from my sister. A week ago? Fresh peanut butter fudge.
What are you grateful for? What are some of your New Year’s Resolutions?