Gratitude is a spiritual practice that awakens us to the beauty of how God’s love infuses our life. When we savor good moments, appreciate the simple things, we are filled with a joy that washes over our envy, fears and anxiety. Gratitude opens us to being the beauty of love, which flows forward to doing loving action in service.
In The Grateful Heart, Wilkie Au and Noreen Cannon Au share 3 pillars of gratitude based on the last part of a nursery rhyme – ‘this little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed at home… and this little piggy cried wee, we, whee all the way home.” It’s a funny way to remember, but outlines some profoundly spiritual pathways relating to the Lenten journey.
Because we tend to think more highly of ourselves, get entitled and forget, the Lenten season invites us once again to humility. ‘Being poor in spirit’ is a reminder that although we are so immensely significant to God, everything is a gift by His grace. Although we are very precious to the Lord, we are small in the grand scope of things, and our lives are fleeting. Our days are like a flower in the field.
Although we are grownups, we are ‘little’, and life is so much bigger. Be open to being like a ‘little’ child in the presence of God. With transparent honesty declare: “I need you. I want you.” Desperately depend on God for forgiveness, deliverance and spiritual nourishment.
The Fisherman’s Prayer:
Help me Lord, for I am a tiny little boat in this massive ocean.
Come to my help O God; Lord, hurry to my rescue. Psalm 70:1
- Humility: Poverty of Spirit
- Dependence on God: Letting go, Surrender
- Longing for more of God through:
The Gift of Community
Life is about relationship attachments. We find our joy and happiness in the presence of God and meaningful connections with one another – not in money, things or places. God’s love shows up through people. We depend on each other like beggars sharing the bread of life with one another.
Love, mercy, forgiveness, generosity and service are some of the qualities that are being formed in us as we become more like the Father. Loving others as God loves us is what the Lenten transformation is all about.
When our broken love is the only love we can have, we are easily thrown into despair, but when we can live our broken love as a partial reflection of God’s perfect, unconditional love, we can forgive one another our limitations and enjoy together the love we have to offer. Henri Nouwen
- Letting go: Forgiveness
- Appreciation: Gratitude
Wonder. Appreciation. Gratitude
Be a person of wonder, more attuned to the Spirit of God rekindling ‘wonder’ and ‘awe’. “Wow. God was certainly in this place, and I didn’t realize it.” Reclaim childlike wonder and excitement in ordinary everyday life, like when you used to feel the thrill of swinging high. Whee! Our sense of ‘wonder’ can get lost along the way. The secret of being content and happy is looking once again for this wonder and gratitude, being aware of where God is present. All is a gift to you. Be a receiver.
What flows out of wonder is gratitude.
What flows out of gratitude is wholeness.
Be amazed when noticing beauty balancing against brokenness. Savor deep appreciation for the simple and ordinary things in life that you usually take for granted. Rummage for and be attuned to finding God in all things. Slow down and smell the roses. Live in the moment. Relish life. Be still and quiet so you can notice. Sit for a while, linger. Open to new life, new hope and the capacity to forgive. Find the beauty of God in all things, in all you do, everyday.
- Appreciation: Gratitude
- Examen Prayer
Watch this video below with wonder and appreciation. Each flower is filmed for a few days and images are collated within 7 minutes to get this amazing effect.
Click to view video: La vida de las flores