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On the Powerful Virtue of Gratitude

A couple weeks ago I was feeling self-absorbed and miserable and complainish, when I realized and remembered that we are supposed to give thanks in everything. So I started picking out the most miserable things I could think of in my life, even my vices, and gave thanks for them.

The reason I mention it is twofold (or maybe three). First, because it underscores how our well-being depends a whole lot less on our talents and achievements and cleverness and all that, and a whole lot more on simple platitudes that remind us of what should be obvious. It is good and just and fitting to thank an infinitely loving and all wise God for everything.

Second, because I’m still a young enough Christian that everything seems new to me. And when I resolved with my will to give thanks, I found that something new happened inside me. It was as though I removed a barrier to something good outside of me that was constantly there but that I was holding out.

It slowly dawned on me, rosy fingers and all, that thankfulness is an attitude of receptivity and belief while complaining and ingratitude are attitudes of unbelief. The grace that wanted to enter my soul and nourish me was being held in abeyance by my unbelieving ingratitude.

It’s a wonderful thing to have a day set aside to say thanks! Let’s practice so much today that it flows into the other days.

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