Meister Eckhart, the thirteenth-century German priest and mystic, famously wrote, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is ‘thank you,’ it will be enough.” Today, as we gather with family and friends to say thank you in the grandest fashion, complete with far too much food and football, it’s a good time to take a closer look at where—or whether—that prayer makes its way into our lives the other 364 days of the year. Like the lepers in today’s Gospel, too often we are like the nine who did not bother to return and thank Jesus for their miraculous healing. We beg, we plead, we bargain, and then when life turns out as we had hoped—in big things and ways—we have already moved on to the next request, often without even pausing to utter those two small-but-powerful words: thank you.
Gratitude is a transformative practice. Put into daily rotation in our spiritual lives, it can remake us in all the best ways. When we are grateful for all that we have, not just in good times but all the time, we begin to see blessings where we hadn’t seen them before; we begin to live life from a place of abundance rather than a place of lack. Suddenly a walk through the grocery store or a drive to the office becomes an opportunity for grace, gratitude, and the awareness of God’s undeniable presence in the middle of our messy lives.
Mary DeTurris Poust, “Small-but-Powerful Words,” from the November 2022 issue of Give Us This Day, www.giveusthisday.org (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2022). Used with permission.