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Editorial: Grateful life? Better life

In November we get to celebrate arguably the greatest secular holiday on the American calendar: Thanksgiving.

What’s so great about it? It’s not the food, family, traditions, the time off of work, or even the football that we have in mind here, wonderful as those things might be. It’s certainly not shopping.

It’s the gratitude.

One of the easiest and most profound changes we can make in our lives to become better, happier people, and most of all to grow in our relationship with God, is becoming people who are grateful. Growing in gratitude can bring real healing and perspective and can help us to overcome bitterness, selfishness, pride, anxiety.

Even the secular world is rediscovering this truth. If you do an Internet search on the term “gratitude journal” — where people take time each day to write out what they’re grateful for — there are more than 3 million hits.

St. Paul said “in all things give thanks,” and it’s true that there is always something to be thankful for. The more we start to look and notice, the more things we will find to be grateful for. The more we thank God and the others in our lives who deserve our thanks, the more we will come to understand how blessed we are.

A priest once asked a simple question in a homily: If God only gave you tomorrow the things you thanked him for today, what would you have?

It’s a great question to reflect on. Thanksgiving is a great holiday because it reminds us that thanksgiving ought to be a major part of our prayer life and a major part of the whole way we see the world every day of the year.