Growing in Gratitude

Fr. Mike Schmitz “Thanksgiving Special”

With Thanksgiving approaching, many of us are looking forward to time off of work, what food we’re going to eat, and spending time with our family. These are all great things. But Thanksgiving is about more than a day to eat, it’s about gratitude. Gratitude is giving thanks for a blessing God has given us, whether it be in the form of a certain relationship, work success, or even the gift of our health. Cultivating a spirit of gratitude is something that takes time and effort as we often find it easier to focus on what we’re missing. We are often so focused on what we lack that we miss what we have. Blessings surround us at each moment, we just need the eyes to see them. For example, instead of focusing on how bad traffic is, we can thank God that we own a car and have extra time in the car to pray or listen to our favorite song. Let’s take these days leading up to Thanksgiving and cultivate a spirit of gratitude. As a parish community, let’s be more mindful of how many gifts God has given us. We are lucky to have a family (even when they drive us nuts), we are lucky to be Catholic, and we are lucky to have such a generous God looking out for us.

Here are some concrete steps we can take to grow in gratitude:

  • Write down 3 blessings you experienced throughout the day
  • Thank God for each person in your life by name
  • Think about all the prayers God has answered in your life
  • Go to daily Mass and meditate on the gift of the Eucharist
  • Recall 5 happy memories
  • Say “thank you” each time someone serves you even in some small way
  • Try to see how God is working in your daily routine
  • Start your morning by thanking God for the gift of another day
  • List your strengths/talents and thank God for giving them to you
  • Take a walk in nature and experience the beauty of God’s creation
  • Write someone a letter to thank them for their friendship/impact they’ve had on your life (co-workers too!)