The late Roman Catholic priest and prolific writer on the spiritual life, Henri Nouwen (1932-1996), felt God call him from his faculty position at Yale University to live with the poor in South America. In his book, “Gracias!” he writes:
“In many of the families I visited, nothing was certain, nothing was secure, MAYBE there would be food tomorrow. MAYBE there would be no sickness tomorrow. Maybe…maybe not. But whatever came to these people, they still greeted life with joy and with “Gracias!”
What I presumed from God as my rightful claim, my friends in Peru and Bolivia received as a precious gift. What I treated as common place was for them a joyful surprise. What I trivialized as ordinary, they celebrated with reverence and said, “Gracias!” And slowly I realized what I had all but forgotten and dismissed. All is grace. All is God’s gift!”
Here are two questions we need to ask ourselves:
Are those people who can’t take for granted that they can provide for themselves more likely to trust God to provide for them than we are?
And are they more likely to say, “Gracias!” Thank You! to God many, many times throughout their day than we are?
WHEN YOU PRACTICE GRATEFULNESS, THERE IS A SENSE OF RESPECT TOWARD OTHERS.
THANKFULNESS is measured by the number of your words.
GRATITUDE is measured by the nature of your actions.
WHAT IF YOU WOKE UP TODAY WITH ONLY THE THINGS YOU WERE GRATEFUL TO GOD FOR YESTERDAY?