Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Friday, November 22, 2013

Entrustment To Mary = Gratitude Diffuses Discouragement

Why is gratitude so important? St. Therese of the Child Jesus emphasizes that it is
gratitude that attracts God's grace the most. On the other hand, ingratitude, according to St. Augustine, is "the root of all spiritual evil, a windstorm that burns out and dries up every good." The desire to show gratitude to God should be born in us each time we notice how we have experienced His love. It is precisely this gratitude that will build in us an image of God that is close and closer to the truth. It will build in us the image of the One who is Love and who continually takes care of us. [1]
With Thanksgiving Day approaching, I thought a reflection on gratitude might be in order. I have learned through the spirituality of communion of life with Christ through the Blessed Mother that being grateful is the rescue for my discouragement and anxiety.
For example, after I was hired for my current job, I noticed in the newspaper an onslaught of new employment opportunities. I started to second guess my decision to accept my position which is less than part-time and came without benefits. I questioned myself, wondering if I should have held out for an appointment that would have been more hours and thus more income. Then I recalled how I had given God the credit for giving me the job as the interview had been scheduled for the mercy hour. I also remembered how grateful I was when I saw my work hours still allowed me to attend daily Mass three times a week. My anxiety released as I thanked God again for blessing me with my job. Also, God sees the bigger picture. At this workplace I have been able to take a week off to make a trip to celebrate my grandchild's 1st birthday. In my limited human way of thinking, I never would have guessed I could be leaving for a vacation so soon after being hired. Of course, I will not be paid for the time off, but God had everything fall into place so my duties would be covered. Again my heartfelt gratitude came pouring out for my Creator's merciful love.
But what about being grateful for what the world would perceive as negative events? I have been witnessing how ready I am to shout grateful praises when all is going my way, but lose the desire to do so when life takes a downhill turn. This is where my entrustment to Mary becomes my saving grace. When I cannot be thankful, or do not want to be grateful for so called "negatives" I remember I can turn it over to Blessed Mom and ask her to be my gratitude. Just the action of admitting my helplessness diffuses my discouragement or anger, for I know she is all powerful with God's grace and will help me through whatever adverse situation I am facing. Like just this week I had to ask her to help me remain appreciative for the 7+ years we have had a renter, even though when she moved out she left a mess, poorly painted walls, a cut doggy door, and took two weeks longer than a potential replacement renter could wait!
I also need her gratitude for my hearing disability which brings many humbling moments. It is hard for me to be grateful when I misconstrue what someone says, or I have to ask for a person to repeat themselves. If I truly believe God gives only the best gifts for my soul, I should be appreciative that my poor hearing brings purifications for my sanctification. Yet my stubborn pride keeps my "thank you" hidden under pursed lips. Fortunately, God knows best the burden of my nature, so He gave me his Mother to take care of me, and to make up for what I lack. She leads me to understand that it is easier to have gratitude when I am following God's will and not my own. She helps me remember that everything God bestows and desires is for my eternal happiness.
If you were grateful for all the graces you receive, then you would see God's presence and His intervention in your life much more clearly.[2]

[1] S.C. Biela, TheTwo Pillars, (Ft.Collins, CO: IAMF, 2006), 74.

[2] Ibid 85-86.

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