When you feel as if you are on the bottom rung of the ‘ladder’ and dead last in terms of anyone’s priority, how do you move toward gratitude?
Next to the closet that contains my vestments, near the door of my study, I have a small plaque that reads: vocatus atque non vocatus, deus aderit. It is Latin, from the writings of Erasmus. It means: Bidden or unbidden, God is present. In other words, God is present in all things.
This is a not so subtle reminder to me that I have a choice. I can notice that God is generously present in all things, and in all situations, or I can ignore this reality.
Read Mark, chapter 8:1-10. This is Mark’s account of the feeding of the 4000. The people sat down, Jesus asked how much food there was and they told him: nothing but one boy’s lunch. They could have complained that there was so little. To these people, probably already on the margins of society, they could have lamented, here we go again. Instead, Jesus paid attention to what was offered, gave thanks to God, and distributed what there was. In those ‘less than perfect’ circumstances, somehow, God provided all that was needed.
In prayer, notice your tendency to make comparisons that result in feelings of dissatisfaction or entitlement. Practice giving up comparative statements about what you have or don’t have. Instead, give thanks for what you do have. (Gratitude, from Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, “Spiritual Disciplines Handbook,” p. 30
It is a discipline to stitch our days together with the thread of gratitude. And, the decision to do so is guaranteed to stitch us closer to God, who is present, bidden or unbidden.