Fr. Ed Dougherty, M.M.,
The Christophers’ Board of Directors
In his Letter to the Philippians, St. Paul wrote, “Do not worry about anything, 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 your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).
Paul’s counsel is such a wonderful reminder of the two most important attributes to cultivate in our relationship with God – trust and gratitude. Trust in God entails letting go of excessive worries and concerns and simply asking in humility for our needs to be met. And we should have confidence that God will accompany us on our journey through life. This is not to say that anything we ask for will be granted, because sometimes God has a bigger plan for us that we can’t always understand in the moment.
In his Letter to the Romans, Paul wrote, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28). So we must continually pray for all good things and then trust that God will care for us. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ instructed us to abandon worry and trust in God, saying, “And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.” (Matthew 6:28-29).
The beautiful thing about trust in God is that it allows us to live in gratitude for all of the gifts bestowed upon us. When we understand the care that God has for us, we can focus on all of the blessings being showered upon us. To quote Romans once again, “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33).
When we turn to God with trust, He responds with love, but oftentimes the result of God’s love isn’t what we expected. Trust entails knowing that God’s responses to our prayers will always be infinitely greater than anything we expected, and gratitude enables us to recognize those blessings and receive them with joy.
The Christopher News Note Living in Thanksgiving tells the story of 90-year-old Judith Viorst, who wrote the popular children’s book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Viorst told an interviewer that the most favorite time of her life is right now, saying, “It’s not that the days themselves now are so fabulous…. My hair is thinning…. I can’t find my glasses or keys. And I spend so much time seeing specialists that, if they gave doctorates for going to doctors, I’d easily have earned a Ph.D. But still, I don’t hesitate. The best is not ahead or behind. It’s now.”
Viorst credits her appreciation for the moment with her ability to understand the blessings bestowed upon her, saying, “I’ve found that a little surplus of gratitude often has downstream effects, helping us become more tolerant, less judgmental, more forgiving.”
In the end, trust in God and gratitude for our blessings are the things that make us happier above all else. And a joyful life is the most blessed life we can live. So pray from the heart for all that is good, show God your trust and your gratitude, and be prepared to see amazing blessings poured out upon you.
For free copies of the Christopher News Note MAKING A FRIEND OF JESUS, write: The Christophers, 5 Hanover Square, New York, NY 10004; or e-mail: email@example.com