“Give thanks to the LORD for he is good, his mercy endures forever!” (Psalm 107:1)
This month our faculty, students, administration and staff are spending time practicing and reflecting on our core Gospel value: Gratitude. Please join me in reflecting on this Gospel value.
There is a saying which states that it is not happy people that are grateful, it is grateful people that are happy. We all know people who have their health and all their material desires in life, and yet they still seem miserable. We also know people who don’t have material possessions, who may not have good health, who have often suffered tremendous setbacks and endured significant suffering – but they are still somehow happy. In fact, they exude happiness. It flows from them and is infectious. Very often, it is their sense of gratitude that precipitates this happiness.
The ancient Roman philosopher and statesman Marcus Tullius Cicero said, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” This is often found to be true. Being grateful helps us to learn how to be patient, how to be kind, how to respect others, and how to have humility. Practicing gratitude also helps to combat many vices such as selfishness, greed, and entitlement.
Gratitude means realizing and recognizing the many gifts that have been given to us. These gifts are things that we neither paid for nor earned and often do not even deserve. People who practice gratitude realize that life itself is a gift. We didn’t earn it. It is just given to us by God. God gives us the gift of life, and we are called to cherish that gift and to use each moment as a new opportunity to be grateful.
Gratitude is also a choice. As we go through our day, we do not always notice or acknowledge the elements of grace around us. Therefore, gratitude is the choice to recognize the giver and to give thanks for our many gifts.
We are also called to be grateful for both the big things and the small. But how can we show this gratitude in our day to day lives? Here are some ideas:
- Make it a habit to say “thank you.”
- Keep a gratitude journal, writing down the gifts – big and small – that you encounter every day.
- Say grace before meals.
- Say grace before other events in your life, such as when you wake, when you pick up your child from school, when you go to work, when you walk, run, dance, read, etc.
Catholic author G.K. Chesteron is quoted as saying, “When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?”
As the month of November progresses and we come closer to Thanksgiving, remember to let us practice gratitude every day and make gratitude a part of your identity. Here at the Lafayette Catholic School System, we are so grateful for our students, families, teachers and our many supporters. We will do our best to practice gratitude in our schools – each and every day. THANK YOU!!!
We are focusing this year on our nine core Gospel Values – Community, Servant Leadership, Respect, Gratitude, Humility and Understanding, Wellness, Patience and Perseverance, Diligence, and Integrity. This is the 4th installment of a series of articles which explores these Gospel Values. This installment discusses “Gratitude.” (Please click on the links, above, to view the previous installments.)