Thursday is Thanksgiving Day. This a “civic holy day” in which we remember with gratitude all that we have received. Nothing is so ennobling in a person as a life of gratitude, the ability to say and think “thank you”.
Cicero, the Roman philosopher-politician, declared gratitude as the parent of all virtues. He used examples to defend his belief and posed questions as relevant today as when he asked them 2,000 years ago.
“Do we really love our parents if we are not grateful to them for what they have given us?
Are we good citizens if we don’t recollect the kindness received from our community?
Isn’t education an empty claim if we are ungrateful to our teachers and mentor?
Are we worthy of honors received if we are not grateful to God for them?
Can friendship exist between ungrateful people? Isn’t life empty without friendship?”
Gratitude holds communities together. Without it we have no empathy, the ability to appreciate to one degree or another how a person feels or how our words and actions affect others.
Thomas Merton says that gratitude is a way of prayer:
Gratitude therefore takes nothing
for granted, is never unresponsive, is
constantly awakening to new wonder
and to praise of the goodness of God.
Especially for us older folks gratitude can become way for life, a way of being at peace.
Gratitude becomes a habit of the heart. Gratitude is a habit that fosters the courage to live the last act, the final inning, as completely as possible.
Fr. Steve Adrian