Friday, September 26, 2014

Gratitude and Praise

The Desk columnist in the Catholic Times recalls a weekend retreat she made a few years ago. At the end of the retreat master's talk, he gave them the task of finding 100 reasons to be thankful, and to write them down during the retreat.

Her first thoughts--no big deal, and took her notebook and began writing, but soon realized this was not going to be easy.The first 10 came quickly, the next a little harder but then the going was difficult. Many others, she kept  repeating to herself, but they were not coming to mind. After the retreat remembering reasons for gratitude became an important part of her meditations. 

She came across a book written by a psychiatrist who says there is scientific evidence that our feelings of gratitude influence the body for the good. Our thoughts, feelings and actions are all influencing the operation of the brain. Daniel G Amen an American psychiatrist is quoted, and uses his  studies in her article. Thanksgiving and praise she says have a relationship with how the brain functions. Words of praise  trigger the feelings of gratitude and there is a noticeable greater flow of blood in the brain.

We as Christians do not need this study, she says, to  know the importance of gratitude. In the passage of St. Paul in  First Thessalonians 5:6--"Be thankful in all circumstances. This is what God wants from you in your life in union with Christ Jesus." A virtue that we as Christians are familiar.

She mentions a parish in which there is a relay in giving praise to individuals in the community. A name of one of the parishioners is listed in the Bulletin for something that was done: "Volunteered for 10 years in our Sunday School Program." "Every time there is an event she took the initiative and gave us a good example." These and similar reasons for giving praise and thanks appears and the community expresses their thanks to the individual during the week.

A month has passed since the visit of Pope Francis to Korea. He left us with praise for love and service to others. "There is nothing that belongs to me in this world," he is quoted as saying. We need to compromise,  show concern  for others. The less we have  of  possessions in the place in which we live the more leisure and good feelings we will have to share with other human beings and created life. He is thankful with tears, for all those that have come into his life. With just a little thought he realizes that life is just a continual life of thanks and blessing.

Our life, she concludes, should be one of thanksgiving and praise. Let us long around us and be open to this manner of life in both our actions and words.

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