Gratefulness, even in the darkness

“Thankfulness creates gratitude which generates contentment that causes peace.” –Todd Stocker

I found this quote a few weeks ago around the time of the American celebration of Thanksgiving and it led me to posting it on Twitter, as well as following it up with a couple of other points in my own words:

"… and when that thankfulness is directed towards God, the resulting deep peace is truly God-given... Thankfulness/gratitude expressed through praise of God, in the midst of suffering, even as tears flow = tough, but such a source of blessing."

These thoughts reminded me of a website that I look up from time to time, gratefulness.org and one of the leaders of the Gratefulness movement Brother David Steindl-Rast osb (Benedictine).

The same day as my Twitter posts (Dec. 2nd) my sister in New Orleans posted the following on one of her blogs (wholiness.wordpress.com) in 2 articles:

"Nature’s beauty can be easily missed — but not through Louie Schwartzberg’s lens. His stunning time-lapse photography, accompanied by powerful words from Benedictine monk Brother David Steindl-Rast, serves as a meditation on being grateful for every day.
http://www.ted.com/talks/louie_schwartzberg"

and...

"Brother David Steindl-Rast has been a monk of the Mount Saviour Benedictine monastery in New York since 1953.
He divides his time between hermitic contemplation, writing and lecturing. He is the co-founder of gratefulness.org, supporting ANG*L (A Network for Grateful Living).
Brother David was one of the first Roman Catholics to participate in Buddhist-Christian dialogue, and is the author of The Ground We Share, a text on Buddhist and Christian practice, written with Robert Aitken Roshi. His other books include Gratefulness, the Heart of Prayer and Deeper Than Words. His most recent book is 99 Blessings, a series of prayers for the general reader — whether people of faith, agnostics, or uncertain.
Read more and hear him speak about the importance of gratitude by visiting the Charter for Compassion:http://charterforcompassion.org/node/6388"
Great minds think alike, hey?
I think for both of us the importance of thankfulness and gratitude stems from the benefits that we have each felt in nurturing such an attitude within. It has enabled us to find a certain peace and acceptance and even joy, through the grace of God, despite the darkness of suffering and despair, our lives having been at certain times dominated by the spectre of abuse.
An attitude of gratefulness helps you to focus on the positive, to be a glass half full person, to rejoice in all that God has done for you, done for us, through his Son, and continues to do through his Holy Spirit.
My recent post about the act of praising God being, in a sense, the missing element of our total happiness and fulfilment, ties into the idea of gratefulness. God has done so much for me, has touched my life in so many wonderful, positive ways, how can I keep from singing, especially as we approach Christmas and the celebration of his greatest gift to us, his SON! I don't think it's by accident that we have developed the tradition of singing carols at this time of year.
Matt Redman puts it wonderfully in his song (not a carol, though) Blessed Be Your Name (underneath is a YouTube lyrics video of the cover by Tree63):
Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow, blessed be Your name
And blessed be Your name when I’m found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness, blessed be your name
Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise
And when the darkness closes in Lord still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name when the sun’s shining down on me
When the world’s “all as it should be” blessed be Your name
And blessed be Your name on the road marked with suffering
Though there’s pain in the offering, blessed be Your name 
Every blessing You pour out I’ll turn back to praise
And when the darkness closes in Lord still I will say

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say Lord, 
Blessed be Your name



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