By Katie Beckmann Mahon, Communications Manager
This week’s “Embracing Faith” article will focus on Embracing Faith through Inner Peace.
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances;
for this is the will of God for you.” –1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Over Thanksgiving, many of us gathered with loved ones to celebrate the holiday by being together, enjoying a delicious meal, and expressing our gratitude.
While it is meaningful to express our gratitude for our loved ones and the joys in our lives, it is also just as special to reflect on the meaning of gratitude, why it matters, and how it can lead to a more profound sense of inner peace in our lives.
On the most recent episode of the Hearts Afire Podcast, Sr. Didi Madden, OP, a Sister of Saint Dominic of Blauvelt, New York, reflected on this topic and shared what gratitude means to her.
“Gratitude for me is the recognition that my life is connected to other people, to creation, to life itself, and that connection, which is a gift from God, creates in me a feeling of awe, this feeling of presence, this feeling of thankfulness. That, to me, is gratitude. It’s the awe and the connection.”
During the interview, Sr. Didi also described gratitude as “a practice, an orientation, and a grace.”
She explained, “Gratitude as a practice is constantly bringing myself into an awareness that everything is a gift and to pause, be thankful for that to others, and to receive the thankfulness from others. To go out and see the beauty of the day, the sunshine, the gold of autumn, and to really be thankful. That’s a practice. When we do that, we become oriented to life in a stance of gratitude rather than a problem. We can only have that orientation through practice and discipline. When we do that, and we are oriented, then all of a sudden, we become aware of God’s grace and the grace to know that life is a gift. Good things, bad things, hard things, joyful things are all gifts. From that place, we enter into a relationship with God with thankfulness and joy, and that to me is the fullness of gratitude.”
Along with sharing what gratitude means to her, Sr. Didi also explained how we all can benefit from gratitude and how it “teaches us how to stand in the world.”
“I think our world needs more gratitude because the greater our capacity for gratitude, the greater our capacity for looking at suffering in our world, and dealing with it and not turning away from it. We need to grow our capacity for gratitude in order to be able to create the change we are called to create in this world.”