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September – A Month of Gratitude
The spiritual practice of gratitude has been called a state of mind and a way of life. But we prefer to think of it as a grammar — an underlying structure that helps us construct and make sense out of our lives. The rules of this grammar cover all our activities. Its syntax reveals a system of relationships linking us to the divine and to every other part of the creation.
To learn the grammar of gratitude, practice saying "thank you" for happy and challenging experiences, for people, animals, things, art, memories, dreams. Count your blessings, and praise God. Utter blessings, and express your appreciation to everything and everyone you encounter. By blessing, we are blessed.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat (SpiritualityandPractice.com)
Want to be Happy? Be Grateful
The one thing all humans have in common is that each of us wants to be happy, says Brother David Steindl-Rast, a monk and interfaith scholar. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you’re going, and above all, being grateful.
Go to TED to learn more and read the transcript.
Gratitude: Living Life as Gift
Br. Curtis Almquist of the Society of St. John the Evangelist describes the gift of gratitude and how to practice gratitude.
Gratitude Prayer for the Month
Gracious God, in the busyness of my day, I sometimes forget to stop to thank You for all that is good in my life. My blessings are many and my heart is filled with gratefulness for the gift of living, for the ability to love and be loved, for the opportunity to see the everyday wonders of creation, for sleep and water, for a mind that thinks and a body that feels. I thank you, too, for those things in my life that are less than I would hope them to be. Things that seem challenging, unfair, or difficult. When my heart feels stretched and empty and pools of tears form in my weary eyes, still I rejoice that you are as near to me as my next breath and that in the midst of turbulence, I am growing and learning. In the silence of my soul, I thank you most of all for your unconditional and eternal love. Amen.
Psalms on Gratitude
Week 2 - Psalm 103
Week 3 - Psalm 104
Week 4 - Psalm 107
• Read "Two Words That Will Change Your Life" by Eric Demeter to learn how gratitude begets humility which begets God’s grace.
This moving book stirs gratitude for the blessing of life and the everyday wonder and beauty of nature. It was inspired by the short film Gratitude, a viral video sensation by acclaimed filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg recently featured on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. The book and film pair one of today's most uplifting poems—the Internet phenomenon “A Good Day,” written by revered spiritual leader Brother David Steindl-Rast—with stunning images by Schwartzberg. This inspirational package includes not just the book but a DVD with two short films by Schwartzberg (including Gratitude) and Brother David's own A Good Day video. The last page has a link to the “A Good Day” audio track, which you can use to create your own video or slide show on what you are grateful for.
Basic, Daily Gratefulness Practice
If, each day, we could engage in a “basic daily gratefulness practice,” it would be enough to positively impact our lives and the world around us. Just because a practice is simple does not mean it has simple results. Even though you might choose to try this practice in a more formal way at the same time each day, it can be done anytime, anywhere, and as often as you want.
Gratitude through the Day
Gratitude, like any other spiritual practice, is something we do, not just something we feel. And it’s something we need to practice. To practice gratitude, we don’t need a special cushion on which to sit, nor a special lamp to light, nor a special icon on which to gaze, nor special incense to smell, nor special prayer beads to finger, nor a special prayer or mantra to recite. (None of that is in any way bad or inappropriate. It may well help. It is simply not enough.)
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