GRATITUDE, FRUIT OF MY EFFORTS OR GRACE ?
« Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died ! » Martha says to Jesus.
The virtue of gratitude of course comes from our will : we choose freely each day to consent to an inner peace, whilst our feelings or external events would push us rather towards discouragement and melancholy. The efforts we make are never in vain and always bear fruit ; a fruit which we could not have imagined.
Let us listen to this testimony of Theresa of Lisieux : « Today, I thought of my past life, to the act of courage which I had previously done at Christmas ! And the praise of Judith came back to me : « You have acted with manly courage and your heart has strenghtened ». Many souls say : but I have not got the strength to accomplish such a sacrifice. Let them do then what I did : a great effort ! God, in his goodness, never refuses this first grace which gives the courage to act ; after that the heart is strengthened and we go from victory to victory ». (St Theresa of Lisieux)
There is more than effort. There is something else which comes into play in this attitude to which we aspire. This means that the effort is certainly in an invisible way, always supported, encouraged, renewed by something which is basically beyond us.
The personal transformation which we suggest you try in this booklet is not based solely on your efforts. Whether you are a believer or not, discover this week the gentle balance to be seen in the virtue of gratitude between the fact of acting with one’s own small muscular arms and the fact of receiving the strength of Another !
Video bonus : the actor Denzel Washington gives witness to us of the joy of putting God first !
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Today, I re-read my notebook of gratitude and I look at all the beautiful things I have lived in only a month… I take the time to take deep breaths of fresh air and if possible in the countryside and I give thanks for the path travelled.
I take care in my day to become aware of the fine moments that I live. I stop for a short time to enjoy these moments and to thank the Lord for the luck that I have for living through this by repeating for example : « thank you Lord for the luck that I have to live this moment and other moments ! »