Somebody said that there are two kinds of people in the world. Those who wake up in the morning and say “Good morning, Lord!” And those who wake up and say “Good Lord, it’s morning!”
The first wake up grateful and enthusiastic; ready to face the challenges of a new day. The other are those who are fed up and tired of life. They are just surviving!
The question is: which one are you?
The Sunday Readings teach us of the value of gratitude. The First Reading (2 Kings 5:14-17) tells the story of the Syrian General, Naaman who was cured of his leprosy. Grateful to the God of Israel, he becomes a believer. His thanks-giving becomes a thanks-living! The Gospel (Lk 17:11-19) has the same theme. It narrates about the ten lepers whom Jesus cured. Only the Samaritan came back to give thanks!
Jesus teaches us that we need to be grateful.
We ask ourselves: why be grateful? In the first place, God has no need of our thanks. It adds nothing to God’s power if we are grateful or not. Instead, gratitude is beneficial to us. It doesn’t cost us much. There are 3 Reasons why we should be grateful:
1. It reminds us of what is truly important.
It helps us focus on the good and beautiful things that we have and those things that are happening to us. We are able to celebrate the present.
2. It reminds us of the positive things in our life.
Yesterday, I met a one-year old boy named Rajah. I asked him of his favorite subject and he says: Math! Next, I asked him to demonstrate some of his lessons. In a graphical way, he explained what he learned from his teacher: 1 mango plus 1 mango, you have 2 mangoes. 2 classmates plus 3 classmates, you have 5 classmates. I asked him if he had 5 toys and I take away one, how many are left? He could not answer. The teacher has not taught them subtraction yet!
This boy only knows about the pluses in his life. He has so much to count! A grateful person focuses on the plusses; he has so many positive things to count in life. And they say, positive things block toxic emotions and make us feel better.
3. Gratitude turns bad things into good.
It makes us more stress resistant. Dr. Robert Emmons, the world’s leading expert on gratitude and professor of psychology at the University of California has a book: “Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.”
He claims that gratitude not only makes you happy, it also makes you healthy. It makes us healthy physically, psychologically and socially. Gratitude increases the body’s natural antibodies; it strengthen one’s immune system. Psychologically, it make us less vulnerable to depression; one becomes more optimistic and it gives us a happier mental state. Socially, it makes us become more compassionate, more forgiving and makes us feel less lonely and isolated.
The greatest benefit of gratitude is that it gives glory to God! We honor God through what we do. In this way, our life becomes “Eucharistic.” This “thanks-giving” must also become “thanks-living!”
Meister Eckhart, the German Dominican, theologian, philosopher and mystic said: “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”
Dr. Steve Maraboli, a behavioral scientist specializing in motivational psychology wrote: “Those with a grateful mindset ten to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.”
Before the day ends, be grateful for at least 3 things today. Find reasons to thank God also for the “negative things” you experience. And every morning don’t fail to say: “Good morning, Lord!”