Day 36 – Forty Days with Thomas Merton

Day 36

Gratitude is more than a mental exercise, more than a formula of words. We cannot be satisfied to make a mental note of things which God has done for us and then perfunctorily thank Him for favors received.

To be grateful is to recognize the Love of God in everything He has given us… and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. Gratitude therefore takes nothing for granted, is never unresponsive, is constantly awakening to new wonder and to praise of the goodness of God. For the grateful man knows that God is good, not by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.

— Thomas Merton in Thoughts in Solitude

Today: Have you ever thought that your day could not get worse and it did? Thich Nhat Hanh, speaking of how to find gratitude in our everyday lives said, (paraphrased): “When we find ourselves overwhelmed by life circumstances we can be grateful for not having a tooth ache.” So, unless we have a tooth ache, there will always be at least one thing we can be grateful. And when we have a tooth ache, well, you figure that one out.

Stop for just one minute and consider all of the things in your life that make you grateful. Not just the obvious things, like God, family, etc., but the not-so-obvious. Consider finding gratitude in having a big toe or thinning hair…. or…. your bathroom….or a…….

+Ed Jansen, OSB

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