Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Fr. James Farfaglia

11/22/2012 (3 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 (3 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'


Copyright 2015 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2016
Universal:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Evangelization: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More Living Faith

Worldwide Christian persecution among four vital issues behind Pope and Russian patriarch's visit Watch

Image of Both the Catholic Church and Russian Orthodox Church have spoken out clearly to stop the

By Andrea Gagliarducci, CNA/EWTN News

The first, historic meeting between a Pope and a Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church does not come from nowhere. Both the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate and the Holy See have been working on such an event for decades. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - In at ... continue reading


Can we set aside our differences?: Catholics and Russian Orthodox Patriarch unite for the first time in 1,000 years Watch

Image of Patriarch Kirill will meet Pope Francis on this historic day (AP).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The Vatican recently announced the historic meeting between Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The meeting is set for Friday and will be the first time the heads of the Catholic and Russian ... continue reading


Oldest copy of Old Testament recognized as world treasure Watch

Image of The oldest surviving copy of the Hebrew Bible has been officially recognized.

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The oldest surviving copy of the Old Testament was officially recognized as a world treasure by the United Nations Educations, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Aleppo Codex is the oldest surviving copy of the Hebrew ... continue reading


More than a thousand 'super confessors' released by Pope Francis to tackle 'reserved sins' Watch

Image of One of the Pope's

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Those who commit "reserved sins," transgressions that are deemed especially egregious by the Catholic Church, will have another chance this Jubilee Year. Those who have committed such sins previously only pardonable by the Pope may now seek out the 1,142 ... continue reading


'What could happen if every church would rise up in prayer': Christians join before U.S. Supreme Court to call for prayer Watch

Image of Texas Loves Life stands to protect the unborn (bound4life).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Christians stand together outside the U.S. Supreme Court to call other believers to pray the pro-life law passes. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While the Supreme Court considers a Texas pro-life law, Texas Loves Life calls for Christians to pray for the fates of ... continue reading


If 'Jubilee doesn't arrive to the pockets, it's not a true Jubilee,' Pope Francis says Watch

Image of In his continued catechesis on mercy as seen in Scripture, the Pope noted how the Jubilee year is an

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

For Pope Francis, mercy is not just spiritual, but is something that ought to be expressed in concrete acts of service and in sharing one's goods with the poor, which was a key tradition during Jubilee years throughout Scripture. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - ... continue reading


'You can't have Jesus': NASA accused of censoring use of Christ's name Watch

Image of NASA announces the use of Jesus' name in e-communications is a violation of the First Amendment (SacredHeart).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Members of the Praise and Worship Club, composed of NASA employees, were shocked to receive a notice from NASA ordering they cease to include Jesus' name in their religious e-mails. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The use of Jesus' name came up in May 2015, when ... continue reading


MAKE YOURSELF COUNT! Complete this quick Ash Wednesday survey

Image of Take the Ash Wednesday survey so we can better serve your needs.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online is conducting a global survey on Ash Wednesday practices. Each reader is asked to participate once. The survey will take less than a minute to complete. The results of the survey will help Catholic Online determine how best to serve your needs in the ... continue reading


Santa Muerte gains popularity throughout Mexico - Will Pope Francis react during his visit? Watch

Image of Santa Muerte's popularity has spread throughout South America (Pinterest).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Despite the Catholic Church openly saying Santa Muerte is not recognized as a saint, the death saint continues to spread in popularity among Mexican citizens. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Santa Muerte is an absurdity," Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Mexico's ... continue reading


Bible-themed luxury resort to be built in San Diego? Watch

Image of Televangelist seeks to build Bible-themed resort (YouTube).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Televangelist Morris Cerullo has been attempting to build a Bible-themed luxury resort for the past few years - and now there is only one more hurdle to jump. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - After purchasing a foreclosed Mission Valley hotel, Cerullo's plans for ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 58:1-9
1 Shout for all you are worth, do not hold back, raise your voice like a ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 51:3-4, 5-6, 18-19
3 For I am well aware of my offences, my sin is constantly in ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:14-15
14 Then John's disciples came to him and said, 'Why is it that we and the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 12th, 2016 Image

St. Buonfiglio Monaldo
February 12: He was one of seven Florentines who had joined ... Read More