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Father Muench Says...

Developing an attitude of gratitude

Nov. 18, 2015

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Are you the one who leads the grace for dinner on Thanksgiving Day?  Well, it is about time you started preparing your prayers. Now, I know that most of you wait to the last minute to think of something to say and then come up with whatever jumps into your mind.  Today I want to encourage you to take some time to prepare your prayer right now for this year’s Thanksgiving.

To begin – take a moment to bring gratitude into your life.  By that, I mean that you stop to recognize a profound thankfulness for the wonderful people and events that have been part of your life – especially this year. 

This brings a spirit of gratitude into your heart and form a profound relationship with God who has constantly blessed you.  This makes you a grateful person, someone living in gratitude. Then you will be able to help yourself and also others recognize how grateful they should be right now.Such a spirit of gratefulness begins as you develop a deep gratitude for yourself.  Realize now how special you are.  God has blessed you and continues to watch over you.  So, be grateful. 

Now, I know that you are going to tell me of the many times you have felt rather mediocre, the times when you have been very upset with yourself.  In this moment, let me urge you to just stop. Stop a moment in prayer and then recognize all that you have done - with God’s help –to make a difference in many people’s lives, in the lives of your own loved ones.  So, be grateful!

At this moment, I would like to share with you a conversation I had the other day with a fellow, who was a stranger.  He was describing for me a recent time when he had observed someone in the mall, someone that he and his friends considered different, sort of odd. 

He admitted to me that he had made fun of this person as he joked with his friends.  Now he really felt upset with himself.

I suggested that at moments like this we should all remember that meaningful statement that is probably familiar to all of us – “There but for the grace of God, go I.”  I was blessed so much by the Creator who made me just who I am and the Lord loves me just like I am.  I definitely should be a grateful person since God loves me as I am.  I should be grateful that I am who I am.

So, back to your prayer for this year’s Thanksgiving grace.  As you compose your prayer, do so as a grateful person allowing your gratitude to fill your prayer.  Now you must help all the others to become grateful people also, grateful for who they are, grateful for their family and loved ones and all the opportunities they have to reach out to them, grateful for the others, evens the strangers, who have touched your life.

Now, this is not a simple task but at that moment as the prayer at this Thanksgiving table, you can personally lead everyone to recognize their gratefulness and how to make their life more grateful.

So, chose well your words and allow the spirit of gratitude from the Lord fill your words with your love for them all, your thankfulness that they are with you.  That indeed is the final ingredient – love. 

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