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Suffering (Gratitude and Growth)

“Gratitude is not about gritting your teeth and saying things are fine when they are not. Rather, true gratitude involves acknowledging our sufferings, accepting them, and then interpreting pain in a spiritual way Gratitude gives us the power to dare greatly, with a courageous vulnerability that is able to stand up after defeat, striving valiantly for what is most meaningful…Gratitude empowers us to embrace the frailty, weakness, and pain around us while remaining at peace. Here’s why: when we use gratitude to reframe our sufferings, we are not denying that the suffering is taking place, nor are we painting an escapist gloss over our difficulties. Rather, we are choosing to perceive the larger context in which the suffering occurs: a context that provides occasions for gratitude regardless of what is happening around us. Insofar as gratitude enables us to lean into pain, to be realistic rather than escapist, it provides the resources to be there for others who are suffering, instead of insulating ourselves from their pain as a form of self-protection.” (Robin Phillips)

“Often, we do not understand the Almighty’s reason for permitting the trials that we face. Amid our struggles, it is hard to give thanks for the goodness of God. Yet when we look back at our troubles, we often see that God was working in the ordeals that seemed without explanation at the time.” (Fr. Basil)

“Throughout the Lord’s ministry, those who responded to Him with humble gratitude were not those who were full of the pride of life. Instead, they were typically people who had been broken by life’s trials and disappointments, such as incurable disease, demonic possession, the loss of loved ones, falling into a disreputable occupation, or being on the wrong side of a religious or ethnic divide. They had learned through bitter experience that they could not rely on their accomplishments in this world for their salvation. That is how, like the Samaritan, they were able to develop the gratitude to appreciate how dependent they were upon the mercy of Christ.” (Fr. Philip LeMasters)

“When we are always thankful, we are remembering that the world and the world’s system does not owe us. We are remembering that it is both God’s mercy and judgment that there is food on the table, that our children are relatively healthy, that we have a job, a home, or friends. None of these are guaranteed, and we will give an account to God for what we did or didn’t do with His blessings. When we forget to be thankful, we begin to think that it is the world and our place in the world that has brought about the relatively comfortable life we are experiencing. We begin to think that working for and fighting for a system, a government, a program is how we will make the world a better place or how we will keep the world from devolving into a worse place. When we forget to give thanks to God, God begins to feel distant to us; we start to think that maybe God doesn’t even care, that God doesn’t really matter that much.” (Fr. Michael Gillis)

“One evening a handful of years ago, deep in the throes of a spiritual desert, I found a notebook and decided to write down one thing I was grateful to God for arising from that day. It was the beginning of a daily ritual I came to call “thanks-writing”—giving thanks through brief, one- or two-sentence recollections each day. The practice has become a way to cultivate gratitude toward God for all He has given me.” (Nicole M. Roccas)


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