Gratitude opens the heart and allows love to flow through our lives. When we are not grateful to the giver of our blessings, we develop insensitivity and an attitude of entitlement. This shuts us out of the divine flow and keeps us distant from grace. In contrast, expressing gratitude opens our hearts and invites more blessings into our lives. Cultivating an attitude of thanksgiving for all we receive is the surest way to awaken awareness to God’s presence in every moment.
This week in Creator Quest we will be discussing all the amazing blessing we have to be thankful for. I encourage all of us to take advantage of this Thanksgiving Season to start an Attitude of Gratitude, but please don’t limit it to just the month of November. We have so much to be thankful for every day. Research clearly demonstrates that focusing on what you have to be thankful for – even if it something small, helps you to feel happier and more fulfilled in life.
Thank you for being a part of our Trinity Community. We are so grateful for you.
Johnny Appleseed Grace
Oh, the Lord is good to me.
And so I thank the Lord,
For giving me the things I need,
The sun and the moon and the apple seed.
The Lord is good to me.
We give thanks for the ways God’s Spirit is seen in who we are and what we do.
We give thanks for all that has been and for all we are for each other as family and friends.
— Adapted from Children Praying a New Story, by Michael Morwood
Affirmation: I give thanks to every giver and to the One Source of all that is.
Story: DEO GRATIAS
A long time ago, in Ireland, there was a beloved saint named Patrick. He and his brother monks lived simply, together in a monastery, and they spent their time teaching about God and helping people whenever they could. There was a rich chieftain named Connor who lived in the country near Saint Patrick. He liked being powerful and important, and he wanted everyone around to know his name and admire him. He made a big show of helping the poor so people would talk about how generous he was and be grateful to him.
The chieftain had been hearing a great deal about Saint Patrick lately, and he was tired of it. He thought to himself, “There must be a way to remind people how important I am and get the great Saint Patrick to see that as well!” He summoned his strongest servant and told his hunters to bring enough meat to feed twenty people. When the servant and the meat arrived, he said, “Take this meat to Saint Patrick and tell him the great Chieftain Connor has sent it and wishes to share it with the poor people. Remember all he says, and when you return, be sure to repeat every word of praise and gratitude here in front of everyone.”
Chieftain Connor waited anxiously all day, and when the servant finally returned, everyone was gathered to hear about Saint Patrick’s reaction. The servant appeared to be quite nervous but dutifully told his master that the meat had been accepted and would be distributed to the poor by Saint Patrick and the monks. Then the servant very quietly said, “When I told him the meat was a gift from you, Lord Connor, the saint lifted his eyes to heaven and said, ‘Deo Gratias!’ That is all.”
“That is all he said?” exclaimed the chieftain with astonishment. “Apparently the great Saint Patrick doesn’t understand how expensive that meat was! Go back to him with enough to feed thirty people. That will make him show more gratitude than just two words!” The tired servant returned very late that night and reported to his master. “This time Saint Patrick lifted his eyes to heaven and fell to his knees. He said, ‘Deo Gratias!’ and then was silent. I even asked the saint if there was another message for you, but he said nothing, my lord.”
Chieftain Connor was enraged. “I don’t even know what those words mean! Bring me enough meat to feed fifty people! Take it and tell him I am awaiting his gratitude, or else!” The poor, exhausted servant did as he was told. When he returned to his master at dawn, he had only two words to report: “Deo Gratias.”
Chieftain Connor strapped on his long sword and got on his horse. He fumed with anger as he rode to the small, humble monastery. He pounded on the door and demanded to see Saint Patrick. When the saint appeared at the door, he didn’t seem surprised to find the chieftain with his sword held high, ready to strike. “Two words are not enough thanks for all that expensive meat I gave you — you have one last chance to show me the proper respect and gratitude, monk!” yelled Connor. Saint Patrick calmly replied, “Those two words weigh more in the eyes of heaven than all your gifts, Chieftain Connor. I will show you.”
The chieftain was too astonished to protest as a large balance scale was brought out and all the meat he had given was placed on one side. Then the saint took a quill pen and wrote the two words on a piece of parchment and placed it on the other side of the scale. Chieftain Connor and all who were there stared in amazement as the scale dipped down to the ground on the side that held the parchment. They knew it was a miracle. Saint Patrick explained to all that the words “Deo Gratias” meant “Thanks be to God.” The chieftain then understood that the miracle was for him. He had demanded all gratitude for himself, and he had forgotten that everything comes from God.
*Lesson from A JOYFUL PATH: Spiritual Curriculum for Young Hearts and Minds, Year 1 of the Inner Wisdom Series