Wednesday, 32nd Week in Ordinary Time    

            Somebody said: “The finest test of character is seen in the amount and power of gratitude we have.”

            Today’s gospel reading talks about gratitude (and ingratitude). Ten lepers had been cured but only one returned to Jesus to thank him. And it was a Samaritan. Jesus then praises the faith of this man who came back to give thanks.

            So, today’s liturgy challenges us to ask this question: “Do we thank God enough for all his gifts?” Gratitude is a virtue that is very much at the heart of our search for happiness. God has planted within our heart a desire for happiness – a desire for a sense of well-being and contentment.

            Gratitude and happiness go together. (Daniel Mahan) One cannot be grateful and unhappy at the same time. William Law, a writer, has this to say about being grateful: “The shortest and surest way to happiness is to make it a rule to yourself to thank and praise God for everything that happens to you.” “For it is certain that whatever seeming calamity happens to you, if you thank and praise God for it, you turn it into a blessing.”

            There is a scientific evidence that shows the connection or relationship between happiness and gratitude. Positive emotions such as gratitude and love have been shown to release endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are natural pain-killers in the body. According to an article (The Spirit of Well-Being), “The more we experience a sense of gratitude, the more endorphins and the less adrenaline we pump into our systems, thus contributing to longer, healthier lives.” The article concludes by saying, “As we count our blessings, we literally bathe ourselves inwardly in good hormones.” Those who are more grateful are healthier and live longer. Try to remember that.

            Being always grateful is also the antidote to self-pity. When misfortunes come – one after the other – we are easily tempted to indulge in self-pity. And because of this our outlook in life gets worse. We tend to over-look the other good things that are happening to us. However, when we focus upon our blessings we have an added resource to help us cope with difficulties and face the challenges of life.

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