Gratitude is the way
If we’re living the life in Christ and coming to dwell in His mind, one thing that really helps us proceed down this path is gratitude. Gratitude is the proper response to God for all that we have been given.
We could start with gratitude for the life we’ve been given and the chance to live on this beautiful planet.
And then, we might think about all the family and new friends and old we had along the way of our lives and be grateful for these companions, no matter how problematic they have been for us.
We might even look back at the challenges we’ve had, the pain and suffering we’ve been through, and God’s presence with us all along the way. We could be thankful for the lessons we learned about who we are and how we are to give back to God all that He has given us.
We might turn to God Himself and give thanks and praise for all the love and forgiveness that He showers on us when we repent of our selfish ways.
And praise Him for giving us His Son to show us how to live and to suffer with us and to be the symbol of your forgiveness. We would thank Him for the presence of Christ to us and in us and the Holy Spirit.
This is not a one-time prayer that we say to God, but an on-going attitude of gratitude. We could look back every day and give thanks for all that happened in that day. We could keep a gratitude journal every day with examples of His presence in our lives. Or we might even do the Examen every night or at, say, dinner time, teaching us and our children how to assess the day from two points of view: what am I most grateful for today and what was the hardest thing for me today?
We could remind ourselves in both of these answers of God’s presence and help in both. And be grateful that He is so present to us.
Gratitude opens our hearts and minds up to God. If we’re grateful for our lives and for God’s presence in them, then we look differently at everything that happens to us. We have God’s companionship; we have His love and forgiveness, how could we feel bitter or resentful towards what happens to us? How could we spurn His love? Yell at Him because this or that thing that we didn’t want is now in our lives?
Gratitude can change us from resistance to a more objective look at what is happening to us. We’re more apt to look at anything new with engaged interest rather than rebellion or scorn. And it helps us move from the false self to the true self in God.
Of course, gratitude by itself is not everything, although it certainly can change us more than we believe possible. Opening up to what God is saying to us, knowing the Trinity through the Bible teachings and the teachings themselves, knowing ourselves well so that we can more easily let go of our attachments, and worshiping and praising God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are also absolutely necessary. But with an attitude of gratitude we are more apt to be open to all these other ways of knowing God.