Maxim Week 29

Welcome to Maxim Monday, week 29: Be grateful in all things!

Fr. Thomas Hopko did not expound on this maxim. I think it is pretty self-explanatory.

Giving thanks is commanded of us in scripture time and time again.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Ephesians 5:20
…giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Phil 4:6-7
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Psalm 95:2
Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.

And so much more.

There are have been many research studies to indicate that thankfulness begets happiness. The more thankful we are the happier we will be.

In the “Greater Good Magazine” published by UC Berkeley there is an article called “How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain: New research is starting to explore how gratitude works to improve our mental health.”

Their biggest question in the research was to find how gratitude can play a role in mental health. They note that most research studies on gratitude are conducted on well-functioning people. “Is gratitude beneficial for people who struggle with mental health concerns? And if so, how?”

The short of it all…yes! You can read the entire article above. It is very good.

They sight that “practicing gratitude on top of receiving psychological counseling carries greater benefits than counseling alone, even when that gratitude practice is brief.”

Four insights from the study:
1. Gratitude unshackles us from toxic emotion. The use of positive words over negative words is by far the key.

2. Gratitude helps even when you don’t share it.

3. Gratitude’s benefits take time.

4. Gratitude has lasting effects on the brain.

Their ending note (emphasis is mine): “Regardless of whether you’re facing serious psychological challenges, if you have never written a gratitude letter before, we encourage you to try it. Much of our time and energy is spent pursuing things we currently don’t have. Gratitude reverses our priorities to help us appreciate the people and things we do.”

Harvard Mental Health also has an article titled “In Praise of Gratitude: Expressing thanks may be one of the simplest ways to feel better.” Again…really good.

The bottom line…you could never go wrong learning to focus on being thankful. Kind of like being the bee. 😊

This also reminds me of the Abundance Thinkers I spoke about in June of this year. Our thoughts determine our lives…that is what this is about. Being grateful can change your thinking. Try it! I know I need to try it more often. Have you ever kept a gratitude journal? I have started them on and off over the years.

Do you ever read something over and over, a prayer, a scripture but then one day you read it again and something just really jumps out at you, as if you’ve never read it before? As I’ve been reading today about gratitude and thankfulness I decided to read the Prayers of Thanksgiving after communion. Wow! Just wow!

A prayer of thanksgiving after communion:

I thank Thee, O Lord my God, for Thou hast not rejected me, a sinner, but hast made me worthy to be a partaker of Thy holy things. I thank Thee, for Thou hast permitted me, the unworthy, to commune of Thy most pure and heavenly gifts. But, O Master, Who lovest mankind, Who for our sake didst die and rise again, and gavest us these awesome and life-creating Mysteries for the good and sanctification of our souls and bodies; let them be for the healing of soul and body, the repelling of every adversary, the illumining of the eyes of my heart, the peace of my spiritual powers, a faith unashamed, a love unfeigned, the fulfilling of wisdom, the observing of Thy commandments, the receiving of Thy Divine Grace, and the attaining of Thy kingdom. Preserved by them in Thy holiness, may I always remember Thy Grace and live not for myself alone, but for Thee, our Master and Benefactor. May I pass from this life in the hope of eternal life, and so attain to the everlasting rest, where the voice of those who feast is unceasing, and the gladness of those who behold the goodness of Thy countenance is unending. For Thou art the true desire and the ineffable joy of those who love Thee, O Christ our God, and all creation sings of Thy praise forever. Amen

In honor of Fr. Thomas’ Maxim 29  I will post prayers of Thanksgiving on my Instagram account KindlerofJoy! Check it out!

Let us give thanks unto the Lord! Let us give thanks for all of our blessings!

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