by Sr. LaDonna Pinkelman OSF
St. Paul (in one of his letters) told his friends, “Never worry about anything, but tell God your desires of every kind in prayer and petition filled with gratitude and the peace which is beyond every understanding will guard your heart.”
In November, we celebrate Thanksgiving, a time to remember the many gifts given to us by a gracious God who cares for us endlessly. The Scripture passage, above, says so plainly what can happen when we depend and thank God for the many gifts of our life. Can you imagine how different this world and our lives could be if we all had a heart filled with praise and gratitude?
Let’s take a look at the very ordinary gifts of life that we so often take for granted–the ability to breath (our life source); for gift of sight to see God’s beauty all around, to see the needs of others and do something about it (whenever possible), to see with an inner sight God’s life and light within and let it shine out to all we meet; the ability to smile and spread joy and more joy by our friendliness; for our ears to hear what is good and not so good (helping us make proper choices) to hear God’s Word spoken in prayer and Scripture, in and around us; to speak and talk in kindly ways and not harsh ways; our tongue to taste/savor the gift of food and drink; for the gift of hands to touch tenderly, to grasp and hold (for they are always handy); our fingers to move and put things together, screw and unscrew, to hold a pen and pencil (WHAT WOULD WE DO WITHOUT THEM?); FOR the gift of our feet–to walk, run, move from place to place; our mind/intelligence, to think, to ponder and learn for our good and the good of others (allowing us to work carefully for others); for faith, spirituality and religion that brings meaning and life to us and all God’s People; for our families, relationships and co-workers who give purpose and meaning to love, living out our daily ordinary lives. These are only a few of ordinary gifts. We could go on and on.
When we can readily think of things we are grateful for, we more than likely have a grateful heart and healthy spirituality. Let us make it a practice to praise and thank God with a heart filled with gratitude and love (even when it is difficult). And yes, the peace beyond understanding will be an added gift from God for our life.
Sr. La Donna Pinkelman, OSF