Oakwood has had a paper passed to each of us to see what our community goals will be for this year. The three suggested were compassion, gratitude, and gentleness. As I was attempting to discern my own practice for the Feast of St. Philippine Duchesne, I kept going back to gratitude. When I am grateful, I think I am also compassionate and gentle so I am beginning again to list some of the things that I am grateful for in my journal every day.
In the little book, Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life, Mary Ryan has a section on how to look for the hidden blessings of difficult situations. She says, "Gratitude is an all-out experience. It's cheating to be grateful only for the good things that happen and shun the bad. This isn't to say that we want bad things to happen to us, just that if we can be grateful for the lessons inherent in the difficulties that befall us, then our souls will be able to grow and mature. Otherwise we never progress, because we fail to use the hardships that dog us to become more loving, more patient, more present, more kind."
The author suggests we look at the hardest things that have happened to us and then see the gifts each has brought. I know I have done this and it is very fruitful and I have been able to see how these really hard things have been moments of grace.