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Practicing Thankfulness

In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:18

Thanksgiving is an annual national holiday in the United States celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Thanks to our American friends, we have also made it a tradition to do something special here in the Philippines for several years now. Thanksgiving Day was celebrated yesterday, Thursday, November 26, 2020.

When was the last time you told God “thank you”? To give thanks seems like a very simple matter. We teach children to say, “Thank you,” when something is given to or done for them. Yet sometimes, giving thanks to the Lord can be difficult for me. We live in a world full of distractions, complaining, and longing for whatever we do not have. And this year, thanks to the pandemic, a lot of our plans also went down the drain! But how often do I turn to God and thank Him for His gifts – the things and blessings I have?

God is the only reason I have everything in my life. Even my very existence. Every second is a gift. I can point out moments in my life where I failed to be thankful, and it often leads me to unhappiness. Last Christmas a friend gifted me a gratitude journal and was a bit scandalized because she said I needed to practice thankfulness more. But thanks to her gift and her reason, I was able to reflect and take steps forward. So how do I stop feeling unhappy? How have I practiced thankfulness more?

First, I give thanks to God every day. The moment I wake up and before I sleep, I ask the Holy Spirit to help me reflect on the blessings I received, and thank the Lord for all those gifts. St. Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians, said that we should give thanks in everything we have and everything we are able to do. It is what we are called to do as Christians, and it is how we can love God and see all He’s given us every day. The person who incessantly gives thanks is pursuing God’s plan in their life. And one of the greatest gifts that comes from this attitude of gratitude is that every day becomes a chance to use those blessings.

Second, I do my best to attend Mass daily. The celebration of the Mass is a very precise way we can express our gratitude towards God. The word Eucharist literally means “thanksgiving”! In the Mass we profess our love for Christ’s sacrifice, and thank Him by participating in His sacrifice and receiving His Body and Blood.

The beautiful thing about gratitude is that the more I practice it, the more God reveals His blessings around me. With such a practice of thanksgiving towards God, I am able to have a “feast” in my heart every day and find authentic joy for the life I'm living.

Written by Audrey Abatol. Audrey has been a Pure Heart missionary since 2016 and has been the head servant of Pure Heart since 2018.

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