Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Sea of Galilee at Sunrise

Catholic Faith Corner

Living in the Light
of Jesus Christ

Gratitude and Hope Make for Joy

As little children, after we were given something, we probably heard our parents coax, “What do you say?” We learned the importance of expressing thanks. I’m currently reading a book about growing a grateful heart, which offers some practical ideas. One valuable one is to look for the good when facing adversity. A friend in her eighties was diagnosed with cancer. Her positive response was, “For all these years I’ve enjoyed good health. Thank God for that!”  Last week because of the threat of icy weather, I cancelled my flight to Maryland. This entailed hours of debating whether to cancel or not, followed by phone calls to the airline and the insurance company in an attempt to get a refund. A friend emailed: “Maybe this was God’s way of protecting you.” It turned out that on the evening I was to speak, everything in Maryland was closed. If I had made the trip, I wouldn’t have given my talk and the journey would have been in vain! (Not to mention I could have been killed on the icy roads.)

Common wisdom advises dwelling on the positive in frustrating circumstances:  “When you’re given lemons, make lemonade.” “Look for the silver lining.” “Consider the glass half full instead of half empty.” It’s reported that when Thomas Edison tried to make a storage battery, it took 10,000 tries before succeeding. Someone, asked, “Didn’t you feel bad about wasting time on all those failures?” The inventor replied, “I haven’t failed. I learned ten thousand things that didn’t work.”

Sometimes we can look back at our lives and realize that tough times held a gift. And then we can be thankful. Did you ever have a car accident that led to experiencing the kindness of people?  Did you ever go to a dreaded meeting or job and meet someone there who made a significant difference in your life?  Did you ever fail at something but then move on to a more satisfying success?  If so, you know that no matter how bleak the day is, you can always have hope. A personal example:  A publisher rejected my proposal for a book on Mary. My heart sank. But then I decided to self-publish the book. This way I could write it as I wished and also design the format and cover. Plus the book was out in weeks instead of months. Today a man called to say how much he liked the book, a Sister emailed to say she is using my “lovely, lovely book,” and a woman stopped me to say her granddaughter is enjoying “Heart to Heart with Mary.” And the day isn’t over yet! Thank you, God, for that rejection.

Focusing on our blessings cultivates hope in our hearts and makes us optimistic, and therefore more apt to cope with future trials.

Jesus teaches us to be thankful. When only one leper he healed returned to give thanks, he asked, “Where are the other nine?” Could be they were so elated about their restored life, that they forgot about thanking the giver. When wonderful things happen to us, let’s not forget to send a prayer of thanks heavenward. By the way, Jesus endured terrific horrors, but focusing on the good that would come from it no doubt helped him persevere.

When have you experienced good coming from a bad thing? Hope you remembered to thank God!

Thank you for reading my blog!


2 Responses

  1. Good morning Sster Mary Kathleen! I have been grieving over leaving my house of 36 years and all the communities I have found here. Especially my faith community. Saying goodbye to my church, my pastors, and congregation is sooo hard…
    However, we are headed to a new life, living next to our children and being able to watch our granddaughter. I don’t know what that will be like, so I am holding on to what I have. And in knowing that I have to let t go, it hurts.
    Until…we had a “baptism by fire” moment on Monday, when my sick daughter and son in law couldn’t take care of the baby. They were extremely wiped out with an intense flu.
    My husband and. I went out the 2 hour drive, and did what we had to do.
    We took care of our granddaughter with love and our children recovered all under our eyes!
    Now, I look differently at our move. And gong through the trials of the trip, I am feeling better about the move. And I am looking heavenward and saying thank you!!!

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Jesus depends on us to spread the Good News of God’s love, offering the world hope and joy. Mary Kathleen, a Sister of Notre Dame from Chardon, Ohio, responds through writing, speaking, giving retreats, and teaching. Her motto, adopted from Eddie Doherty’s gravesite, is “All my words for the Word.”

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