Giving Thanks Is Transformative

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Thanksgiving is such a welcome break for us during these very stressful times. And, even though our Thanksgiving celebrations may not look like they usually do, we must not underestimate the power of gratitude. In her book, Spiritual Practices for the Brain, Anne Kertz Kernion points out that gratitude has a transformative power:

Each of us gets knocked around by life now and again, so it’s helpful to remember that practicing gratitude can help us cope while also supporting our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Steeped in the power of gratitude, we can be thankful that we simply woke up this morning. This kind of gratitude transforms us, and we then live from a deep well of thanksgiving that will never run dry.

In the end, we understand that cultivating and practicing gratefulness is a very different way to live, because it flies in the face of all the messages telling us we need to have more and be more in order to be happy. When we live gratitude, we steep ourselves in the power of gratefulness that permeates every moment. This is not just a “something good happened” gratitude or “I got what I wanted” gratitude but an “I woke up again today” and “I walked into this room already grateful” attitude. It is gratitude that is indeed radical.

As catechists, we teach a “different way to live,” and gratitude is at the heart of this radical way of life. I am grateful for all of you who dedicate your time, talent, and treasure as catechists to invite people—young, old, and in-between—to practice this different way of living that transforms our hearts and minds and brings us closer to the heart and mind of Christ!

Happy Thanksgiving!

About Joe Paprocki 2580 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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