Having an attitude of gratitude
BY DCN. JAY W. VANHOOSIER, OFFICE OF FAITH FORMATION
Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Luke 17:17-18
Although Thanksgiving Day is not specifically a Catholic holy day, I think it certainly goes hand in hand with our life of faith. Regarding spirituality, hopefully we all know that gratitude is central to the Gospel message – and Thanksgiving Day presents us with the perfect opportunity to look at this important aspect of our faith. We are called to always be deeply grateful. The question we should always be asking ourselves is “How grateful to God am I?”
Most people all struggle in various ways with gratitude and it is fair to say that we will never really be grateful enough until we see God face to face. But, while we are on our earthly journey, it is important to look at gratitude and to try to let it increase in our souls.
First, gratitude is impossible unless we see clearly all that God has done for us. It is so easy in life to focus in on all the struggles we face and, as a result, to get down, depressed, frustrated and even angry at times. The challenging thing to do is to look beyond the crosses and burdens we face each day to see the abundance of grace and mercy given to us by our Lord. Unless we see God’s mercy and grace at work in our lives, we will struggle greatly with authentic gratitude.
So, as we approach Thanksgiving Day, reflect upon this simple question: Do I see all God has done for me? Do I see His abundant mercy at work in my life? To do so is having an “attitude of gratitude.” The Gospel passage above reveals that Jesus healed ten lepers, but only one of the ten returned in gratitude. Are you, at times, like one of the nine who failed in gratitude? If so, you most likely struggle with seeing all the true and abundant blessings from God. If you can humbly and honestly admit you struggle with total gratitude, you will have taken the first step to seeing more clearly and the first step to fostering that deeper gratitude – an attitude of gratitude – you ought to have. Being grateful means you see the truth clearly. Being open to that truth will allow God to change your life as He fills you with joy!
Dcn. Jay W. VanHoosier is the Director of Faith Formation for the Diocese of Owensboro. For more information visit owensborodiocese.org/faith-formation, email email@example.com or call (270) 852-8324.
Originally printed in the November 2021 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.