An Attitude of Gratitude

thanks

How often we forget to be grateful, and yet one ‘Thank you,  Lord’ is worth a 1,000 ‘Lord have mercies’!

Giving thanks should not just be a yearly thing, it should be something we do daily, and indeed several times a day.

A way of facilitating nepsis, or watchfulness, in a simple way is to have an attitude of gratitude –  ‘Give thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything,’
Ultimately, however, it is in the Divine Liturgy that we truly celebrate grateful awareness. The very word ‘Eucharist’ means thankfulness or thanksgiving. In its essence this central life-giving mystery of the Church  is a feast of gratitude towards God. He gives us the earth and all the things in it. We take the things of God, wheat and grapes, and turn them into bread and wine, which we offer up to God. In turn, these are transformed into the very body and blood of Christ, as a gift freely given to us. 
We should give thanks to God for all things, whether in sorrow or in joy. God is the physician of our souls and bodies. Therefore, the Fathers say that  when sorrows come our way it is like cauterizing our wounds in order for them to heal,  so that we can become well and whole. Another analogy they use is of the loving and caring Father, who sees his child misbehaving, yet chastises the child, so that he is sad and sees the error of his ways.
The message here is that we should not just be glad when things are going well, but we should give thanks even when things are going against us. Elder Paisios clearly expressed that gratitude brings gratitude.
We have to show that we are genuine sons of the Father. This is something that Archimandrite Zacharias of Essex stresses quite frequently.When you have done everything commanded of you i.e. to love God with all your heart, to love God as he has loved us we should still say, “We are useless servants, and we have done that which we ought to have done.” (Luke 17:10) Father Zacharias says,  “The greatest commandment is to have this consciousness continually. Then we relate with the God of mercy, with the Father of mercies and God of every consolation. Then we receive him, we receive his chastening, and he will offer himself as to his sons.”
There is reminder after reminder about the need for Thanksgiving in Holy Scripture.

What do the Psalms say?
Sing praises to the Lord, O you His saints, and give thanks to His holy name.

Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving. Let us enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name!

It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praises to Thy name, 0 Most High; to declare Thy steadfast love in the morning, and Thy faithfulness by night.

O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is gracious, for His mercy endures forever.

And Saint Paul clearly states:

Rejoice always in the Lord; again I say, Rejoice! (…) Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:4-7)


Thanksgiving: a meditation

If you got up this morning more healthy than sick, you are much better off than more than a million people who will not survive this day at all.

If you have never been in the danger of battle, the isolation of imprisonment, the agony of torture, the pangs of hunger you are in a much better position that hundreds of millions of people on this tiny plant.

If you can go freely to Church without fear of punishment or reprisal, without fear of arrest, torture or death, you are in a better position than the 100 million Christians persecuted today. 

If you have food in the fridge, a shirt on your back and a roof over your head you are richer than 75% of the people who live on this earth.

If you have money in the bank, money in your wallet, and you can even spare some change now and then you are among the top 8% of the world’s richest people.

If you can lift up your head and smile and be truly grateful you are blessed indeed, because the majority of people can do this, but most people do not.

If you can hold someone’s hand, give them a hug, touch them on the shoulder, you are a gifted soul because you can give a healing touch.

If you can read this text right now, you are more than blessed, not only can you enjoy the thoughts of another, but you are much better off because 2 billion people on our planet cannot read at all.

How thankful are you today?


[30 (40) Days of Blog continues with the themes based on the US cultural milieu . Today’s theme is “Thanksgiving” .  I guess because of the holiday of that name in the United States. I hear it is one single day of the year when people remember they have families , eat a lot, watch  sport on TV and a parade and is sort of like British Christmas, without the baby Jesus, the pressies and  the Queen’s speech. Also, the next day everyone goes shopping.]

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