“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). Giving thanks in all circumstances does not always seem possible. There are many times in which we do not want to give thanks. But St. Paul and all the saints we celebrated earlier this month remind us that it is possible to rejoice, pray and give thanks all the time.
One traditional spiritual practice that helps us do this is continually placing oneself in the presence of God. Spiritual masters such as St. Francis de Sales have recommended techniques such as making oneself aware of God’s presence in all things or being mindful of God’s holy presence in your heart. These practices are beautiful and helpful for being present to God at every moment. Another way that I have found to do this is through making little internal acts of gratitude throughout the day.
Gratitude is one of the most important virtues for us to foster in our lives as Christians, for through it we realize that every aspect of our existence is a gift from God; and in exercising it we grow in the most important virtue of all, which is charity. And once we are intentional about making many little acts of thanksgiving, our hearts are transformed into being able to “give thanks in all circumstances.”
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