I was talking to a priest friend about issues in our parishes. The more we talked about our problems, the more frustrated we both became. Our challenges grew bigger and our abilities shrunk. Then my friend said he’d read an article about a pastor who was incredibly successful. His Masses were well attended and his collections were overflowing. “What was his secret?” I asked. “He was just so grateful for everything that his parishioners started being grateful too,” he said. “That doesn’t sound like either of us. How are we going to get from grumpy to grateful?”
We both agreed to thank God for 5 blessings every night. The next time I talked to him on the phone he was in a much better mood. He was telling me how many ways he had been blessed in the past week. “Have you been thanking God for five things every night?”, he asked me. “Ummmm, not every night.” So I agreed to start. It changed my outlook. Instead of being frustrated with who wasn’t at Mass each Sunday (you know who you are :-), I started thanking God for who was at Mass. It’s amazing how much more I enjoy celebrating Mass when I’m grateful for every single person who has come that day.
I want to challenge you to try it. Create a Gratitude Journal. Put a notebook by your bedside. Instead of ending your day with TV or Bejeweled or reading BrotherPriests.com, pick up the journal and write down 5 things you are grateful for. Do the same thing the next night, but come up with new things every time. By the end of 30 days you will have written down 150 things you are grateful for. Take time then to review your list and reflect on all the ways God has blessed you. You’ll begin to see something that I missed for so long: God is incredibly generous with us. Even those who have little, are not lacking in blessings. You are one of my blessings. I’m grateful that you read this post. I hope you are too.