Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

11/22/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Gratitude is cultivated

On this Thanksgiving Day, we might begin by taking out a pad of paper and a pen and making a list of all of the wonderful gifts that we receive each day of our entire life.

Highlights

By Fr. James Farfaglia

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

11/22/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: gratitude, thanksgiving day, father james farfaglia, cicero, g.k. chesterton


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - "And one of the them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him" (Luke 17: 15-16).

Cicero, the famous Roman senator and orator once wrote, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."  This Sunday's gospel narrative reminds us that gratitude is a rare virtue indeed. 

The virtue of gratitude is the ability to express our thankful appreciation in word or deed, to the person whose words or actions have benefited us in some way.  The truly humble and noble person will always be grateful for the benefits received.  Ingratitude is an ugly sin.

How can the virtue of gratitude be acquired? 

Fundamentally, cultivating the spirit of gratitude requires us to develop humility.  We need to understand that everything that we have and everything that we are is a gift. 

On this Thanksgiving Day, we might begin by taking out a pad of paper and a pen and making a list of all of the wonderful gifts that we receive each day of our entire life.

We could start with life.  We have been given the gift of life.  Consider the air that we breathe.  We take such things as air, water and even good health all for granted.  We need to consider our families, the houses that we live in, the food that we eat each day, our education, our jobs, and the fact that we live in a free country.   

Once we consider the obvious gifts that we have received, we can go deeper.  Take into consideration all that God has done for us.  He loves us unconditionally.  We have the Catholic Church, the Bible and the Sacraments.  We can all remember how a Catholic priest inspired us in a homily, gave us an encouraging word in Confession, or came to visit us while we were sick. 
   
We need to understand that we have received so much.  Should we not always be grateful?
There is a story about a man in Budapest who goes to the rabbi and complains, "Life is unbearable. There are nine of us living in one room. What can I do?" 

The rabbi answers, "Take your goat into the room with you."  The man is incredulous, but the rabbi insists. "Do as I say and come back in a week." 

A week later the man comes back looking more distraught than before.  "We cannot stand it," he tells the rabbi. "The goat is filthy." 

The rabbi then tells him, "Go home and let the goat out. And come back in a week." 
A radiant man returns to the rabbi a week later, exclaiming, "Life is beautiful. We enjoy every minute of it now that there's no goat -- only the nine of us." 

The virtue of gratitude can be expressed in very simple ways.  We should always express our gratitude. The phrase "thank you" should be a common part of our daily vocabulary.

G. K. Chesterton once said: "You say grace before meals.  All right.  But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink." 

He also said, "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?"

The French philosopher Jacques Maritain once said that "Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy."  He is correct and it is important that we acquire good manners and social graces.  The loss of morals and common decency has caused the gentleman and the lady to be something of the past. 

The acquisition of the virtue of gratitude is very important. However it is equally important that we serve others with a spirit of detachment.  We must not look for recognition or earthly glory.  We must continue to love others without seeking anything in return.

Let us remember what Jesus teaches us in the Sermon on the Mount: "your left hand must not know what your right hand is doing" (Matthew 6: 3).

We all know that people can be very ungrateful for the service that is given to them.  How many people thank those who give of themselves unconditionally?

Parents, teachers, clergy, police, firefighters, doctors and nurses many times live thankless lives.  Nevertheless, the Gospel calls us to give of ourselves unconditionally and seek as our only reward eternal life in heaven.

This is true Christianity.

Any other posture is simply rooted in egotism.
 
The standard of greatness for Christianity is not earthly glory, but the Cross of Jesus Christ. 

Many times we may receive appreciation and thanks from those whom we serve.  Birthday celebrations, little expressions of thankfulness, and gifts from grateful people should be seen as noble manifestations of gratitude. 

However, we must remember the example of Jesus.  Only one of the ten lepers returned to give thanks for having been cured.

It is important to remember, that despite the ingratitude of humanity, Jesus continued his mission until his consumatum est. 

His reward was the cross and the empty tomb.
 
When we serve with a spirit of detachment, we will walk among our brothers and sisters, even among those who have been ungrateful and hateful, with joy and a smile.

The disappointments and adversities that others may cause, will purify our interior motives and allow us to focus on eternity.  

Gratitude is a rare virtue indeed.

We need to be filled always with gratitude for God's unconditional love.

We need to always thank all those who serve us and love us with their generous service. 

"And one of the them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him" (Luke 17: 15-16). 

-----

Father James Farfaglia is a contributing writer for Catholic Online and author of Get Serious! - A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics.  You can visit him on the web at www.fatherjames.org. 

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for May 2015
Universal:
That, rejecting the culture of indifference, we may care for our neighbours who suffer, especially the sick and the poor.
Evangelization: That Mary's intercession may help Christians in secularized cultures be ready to proclaim Jesus.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Living Faith

Teen delivers powerful impromptu invocation during graduation commencement's unexpected emergency Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A high school graduate stepped up to the podium during the Clay-Chalkville High School graduation ceremony and delivered a powerful prayer, after one woman had a medical emergency. The prayer moved the audience so much that his impromptu invocation was cheered for at ... continue reading


Catholic Priest warns participants of 'Charlie Charlie' Challenge summoning a demon is no joke Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

"Charlie, Charlie" Challenge is a game now infamous on social media that encourage players to summon a demon. According to a Mirror Online, a Catholic priest has issued a letter warning about the dangers involved with doing such a ritual, and that the challenge is ... continue reading


A Baltimorean's reflections on the Baltimore riots

Image of

By Tony Magliano

"The God of peace is never glorified by human violence," wrote the famous Trappist monk Thomas Merton. Whether it's on an individual, city, national, or international level, violence always dishonors God, and makes bad situations worse. The recent Baltimore City riots ... continue reading


Pope Francis admits to giving up TV in 1990 Watch

Image of While being in the eye of the international media, Pope Francis has little time for media. He's just too busy, and pledged not to watch TV after a pledge to the Virgin Mary in 1990.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While frequently in the media's eye, Pope Francis in fact has little time for the media. After making a promise to the Virgin Mary, the Pope claims that he has not watched TV since 1990. He did not even watch the matches of his football team San Lorenzo de ... continue reading


Pope Francis wants to be remembered as 'good guy who tried to do good' Watch

Image of

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In his brief time as the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis has done many remarkable things and has captured the world's attention. He came off as surprisingly humble in a recent interview with a fellow Argentinean journalist. Pope Francis says he ... continue reading


Catholics worldwide vow to get the word out on Pope Francis' message on climate change Watch

Image of Environmental advocates, working with bishops, religious orders, Catholic universities, and lay movements hope that there will be a transformative impact in the fight against global warming.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis will release his anticipated teaching document on the environment and climate change in the coming weeks. Over the past several years, more faith traditions have rallied behind environmental protection. Churches have begun to press ecological ... continue reading


The Church Needs to Be Baptized Afresh in the Holy Spirit Watch

Image of Do I still believe that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for ordinary Christians? You bet I do! I believe that Pentecost still happens. I KNOW it still happens. We can ALL know it still happens because we can experience its effects in our own lives. We should not be afraid of the Holy Spirit! In fact, we should regularly seek to be filled with more and more of the Spirit.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

We need to pray for a New Pentecost for the Church in this hour! We need more of the Holy Spirit for the New Evangelization of the Church - so that a renewed Church can engage in the missionary task of the Third Christian Millennium. We need to be baptized afresh ... continue reading


Brotherhood of the Belt: Struggle, Trouble and Failure in the Christian Life Watch

Image of The Martyrdom of Peter

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Peter's wrong choices were not the end of the story of Gods plan for his life. Peter's denial crippled Peter emotionally and spiritually. He lost his way. That was until he encountered the Risen Christ. There, in that encounter, he allowed the belt of ... continue reading


The Purpose of Pentecost is the Birth and Ongoing Mission of the Church

Image of The purpose of Pentecost is the birth - and continued rebirth - of the Church.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Church was empowered by the Holy Spirit to live differently in the midst of a world awaiting the fullness of redemption, to live as a new people to lead the world back to the Father, in and through the Son. Through their experience of the Holy Spirit the early ... continue reading


Top 5 Roman Catholic colleges in the United States Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

What constitutes being the best university is oftentimes subjective and usually in adherence to one's beliefs and practices. Choosing a college is one of the biggest decisions many people are making. Some opt for those that offer the best training in the fields of ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Sirach 51:12-20
12 And therefore I shall thank you and praise you, ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:8, 9, 10, 11
8 The precepts of Yahweh are honest, joy for the ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 11:27-33
27 They came to Jerusalem again, and as Jesus was ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for May 30th, 2015 Image

St. Joan of Arc
May 30: St. Joan of Arc is the patroness of soldiers and of France. On ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter