Preparatory week

What is gratitude ?

« Give thanks in all circumstances» (1 Thessalonicians 5 : 18)

This week prepares us for the transforming adventure you have set yourself to live.
As for last year, we suggest you choose an fellow traveller on the lenten journey in order to share regularly with him your joys and discoveries.
Let us enter this attitude of thankfulness,  this simplicity of looking, which allows us to become like little children again (cf Matthew 18 : 3), who are astonished and marvel at what surrounds them.
According to  psychologists, this is a « strength », and from  Antiquity onwards, Cicero even said it is the mother of all virtues. Theology explains to us that gratitude is at the « root of our wellbeing », this is why it touches us and transforms us in our most inner being.
The consequences of this feeling to be nurtured affect all areas of our lives :

 1- Benefits on my body

– Better sleep
– Improved immunity
– Beneficial effects on cardiovascular health.

2 –Benefits on my psyche and my spirit

– Protection against unpleasant and destructive feelings such as anxiety, sadness, despair
– Encouragement of pleasant feelings such as love, satisfaction
– Improvement of concentration
– Strengthening of will and trust in the future, increase in motivation

3 –Benefits on my relationships with others

– Increase of attention to others
– Improvement of benevolence
– Decrease of violence
– Encouragement of a harmonious life as a couple, availability to self giving
– At work, contribution to good relationships, a peaceful atmosphere, increase of efficiency and motivation
– Socially, increase in integration, improvement of solidarity and trust between people

4 –Benefits on my relationship with God : gratitude lies at the centre of Christian life !

« The most proper work of God is to spread out its benefits » ; the most proper work of creation, is to spread out itself in works of grace (eucharistein), since it cannot offer anything else more than that ; (…) To render Him grace, let us work towards this without ceasing and everywhere ». (Philon of Alexandria)

The pious Jew must recite hundred blessings a day ! The morning praise puts us in a joyful state : we are created for praise !

Thus, an extraordinary dynamism takes place : grace attracts grace ! The more I stand in gratitude towards graces already received from God, the more my heart opens up in order to receive even more and let myself be transformed by it ; since God is all goodness and wishes to grant us all that we want to receive. It is a virtuous circle !

Gratitude is basically the answer to something good being given.
It is an action that unfolds in three parts 

1- I must recognise that I have received in the past a free act of goodness (a thing, a service, an attitude…) from someone else.
2- I must feel, by letting myself be touched, an experience in the present.
3 -I must be thankful for the goodness in planning a future action.

Each one of the steps is important : take time to scrutinise with my intelligence that the gift received engenders feelings ( joy, marvel, surprise, gratitude…) ; then the feeling can encourage the passing to action (I wish to give back in return ).