The Secret Toward Fulfillment – Living in Gratitude

During this most beautiful time of the year, I am reminded of  the theme “Gratitude.” Over the past few days, this theme has been making its way in my life (through books, song and podcasts)! I am reminded of how thankful I am for our beautiful Church family, as well as your continued love for Christ and Saint Mark. I am reminded of how great and awesome of a God we have – and am thankful for His love and presence in my own life. 

Gratitude – I am really stuck on this theme! 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Saint Paul urges believers to “give thanks in all circumstances,” emphasizing the transformative power of gratitude. In Philippians 4:19, Saint Paul again reassures the believers that God will supply all their needs. Gratitude is woven into the fabric of many biblical teachings. The Gospel accounts, such as the story of the feeding of the five thousand, underscore gratitude for the abundance of God’s provision. These scriptural principles encourage a perspective that goes beyond material wealth, urging believers to appreciate the abundance of love, mercy, and grace in their lives, fostering a spirit of gratitude in all circumstances.

But let’s face it – too often, gratitude is one of those “should” things. We know it’s good for us and brings us closer to God, but somehow we let it pass by  in our lives. 

But here is the secret I’m going to share with you, or rather a few questions. . . What if gratitude was the pathway to peace and true contentment in life? What if it was something that if practiced often – would lead you to fulfillment? What if I told you the ultimate expression of gratitude is the Holy Eucharist? And when we prepare and receive to the best of our ability, we are experiencing gratitude at the highest level?

I was recently reading a book and these words stood out: “Gratitude works because it trains our attention. It’s a habit of mind. What you pay attention to changes what you want, how you feel, and what you believe. Gratitude disciplines you to pay attention to the good stuff all around you. It’s a habit that alters the way you experience the past, present, and future.”

So here we go . . . Let’s do something different this Nativity Fast . . . let’s start a new discipline together . . . giving thanks! 

In a season often characterized by material pursuits, expressing gratitude becomes a profound act of spiritual resistance. It redirects our focus from what we lack to the abundance that surrounds us, fostering a sense of contentment and humility. 

Here’s the Challenge . . . 

Find time each day to ponder on what you are thankful for! That’s it – plain and simple. Write it down; keep it on your calendar; put it in your notes on your phone; place index cards in a jar on the dining room table; keep it to yourself or share it with your family! 

I encourage you to PAUSE each day, reflecting on the blessings in your life. This not only cultivates a positive mindset, but also strengthens the bonds of fellowship within your family and friend group.

Live in the present; Be thankful for the day; express gratitude for the little things in your life; invite the Lord into your life; His joy and love and mercy will bring you peace, joy, contentment and fulfillment. 

If you are stuck – try this prayer (Saint Philaret of Moscow) to help “un-stuck” you . . . it’s one of my favorites! A blessed 15 days of August! 

And by the way – I am TRULY THANKFUL FOR YOU!

O Lord, grant that I may greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely upon Your Holy Will. In every hour of the day, reveal Your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul, and with the firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforeseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me the strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will. Teach me to pray. Pray Yourself in me. Amen.