The Power of Gratitude: Express Your Thanks Today

A Tabernacle on an altarIf you have been on Facebook or other social media recently, you know that everybody seems to be listing things they are grateful for. This is a good trend, as I have seen very negative people finally begin to look at life differently. As Christians, we have always been big on gratitude. In fact, it is the basis of our faith. Let me explain.

The word eucharist means “thanksgiving” in Greek. For Catholics, the center of our faith, the “sacrament of sacraments” is literally called “Gratitude.” Thus, when we are receiving the body and blood of Christ in communion, we are offering our “thanksgiving,” but what does this even mean?

As Christians, we have a lot to be thankful for. In fact, we have the only thing that really matters to be thankful for, salvation through Jesus Christ. Thus, when we offer our thanks and praise during the Mass, we are thankful for the mystery of Christ, and his redemption of humanity.

But…our gratitude doesn’t stop there. When we connect to the love Christ has for us, and “live” the Eucharist, the natural result is gratitude toward others. This means that true love of God and neighbor must have a strong gratitude component. Is it possible to show love without having gratitude? If I say I love someone, but am not grateful for them, what kind of love is it?

Yet, as humans we find expressing gratitude difficult, especially to those that treat us the best. As a teacher, I have rarely had a student thank me for teaching them, until many years later. Even though they say all kinds of great things about me in the present, I never receive a “thank you” until way after the fact. The same is true of parents. I haven’t ever heard a child thank a parent for all their hard work, until years later. Even Jesus encountered this strange attitude, when he healed 10 lepers. Only one showed up to express his gratitude. Maybe it is embarrassment, but either way, our ability to feel and express gratitude can be strangely limited at times.

However, my suggestion is that we take a lesson from the Eucharist, where we freely express our gratitude to God. Don’t wait to share your gratitude for others. A simple “thanks” may be all that is necessary, but for most people, explaining why you are grateful is a good idea. Thank the people that have helped make you the person you are today. Send a note to a former teacher. Tell your pastor how thankful you are. Let your mom or dad know how grateful you are. Send a brief email to an author or musician that has touched you. And, of course, regularly express your gratitude to God himself, through the Eucharist and regular prayers. We have some thanksgiving prayers that may be helpful in this regard.

About David Bennett

David Bennett is an author, speaker, and small business owner. He started ChurchYear.Net in 2004, along with his brother Jonathan. The site gets over one million visitors a year, and Bennett's writings have appeared in church bulletins, newspapers, and other media.

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