It just might be possible that you’re too worn out for gratitude, but I hope not. It’s my sincere hope that you are filled with gratitude, and empowered by it. Why?
First of all, gratitude is a biblical value. The psalmist proclaimed, “Oh Lord, my God, forever will I give you thanks (Psa 30:12), and repeatedly commanded us to be grateful (30:2; 107:1; 118:1; etc.), as did the prophets Isaiah (Isa 12:4; 38:19) and Daniel (3:8990). The Israelite people gave thanks for all God had done for them (1 Chron 16:8). Paul thanked God for the faith of the Roman Christians (Rom 1:8), for the grace given to the Corinthians (1 Cor 1:4), for the the joy he experienced when remembering the Philippians (Phil 1:3), and for the love and faith of Philemon (Philem 4).
Jesus was moved by the gratitude of the Samaritan who, healed of his leprosy, fell at His feet, giving thanks (Luke 17:16). In the moment of greatest intimacy with us, before offering Himself on the cross, Jesus picked up a cup, gave thanks, and invited us to share in His blood of the covenant (Matt 26:27).
Why would the Scriptures both model gratitude and then require it from us? Well, as we pray at every Mass, when invited to “give thanks to the Lord our God,” it is “right and just.” Our lives are filled with blessings, if we look for them, and it’s right that we recognize that. It’s also just that we lift up our voices and hearts to say as much. So, gratitude is at the heart of the prayer of the church since the earliest recorded Eucharistic Prayer of St. Hippolytus 1,800 years ago.
Beyond being right and just, it is also good for us. This is no surprise. God always wants the good for us. If only we’d cooperate with God’s plan for our happiness! So what is the evidence of this? Well, if you want to be a happier person, have increased sense of wellbeing, live with positive feelings, have an increased sense of your own value, then live in gratitude. The social scientists tell us that this is true.
If you want people to like you, have more romance in your life, be closer to your friends, enlarge your circle of friends and strengthen your closeness with your family, even in stressed times, then live in gratitude. If you want to have a more optimistic outlook, to improve your spiritual outlook, to increase your generosity, and to move beyond materialism, then live in gratitude. If you want to manage your home and business more effectively, to move beyond impatience, to find deeper meaning in your work, and to improve your mental outlook while at work, then live in gratitude. If you’re trying to move beyond depression, to improve your blood pressure numbers, to have better sleep, to have more energy for exercise, and to improve your general health and wellbeing, then live in gratitude.
All of these benefits of gratitude are amply tested and proven in one study after another.