A grateful heart

By Mary Ann Hughes

Grace Notes

I recently came across this sentence in Sacred Scripture: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My Name He will give you.”

I studied the words, and then decided to ask for something that I have never had in my 70 years of life: a grateful heart.

It’s tricky. We don’t want the grateful heart of the proud Pharisee who stood in the temple and prayed, “O, God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity — greedy, dishonest, adulterous. . . . I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.”

Maybe we need to emulate the leper — the only one of 10 — who returned to thank Jesus after being healed.

He has done so much for us, as well.

Let’s start with the little things.

It’s easy for me to be thankful for evening walks with my husband. It’s a wonderful time for us to share about our days. This spring, the trees and the flowers have outdone themselves in holy splendor.

I am thankful that my parish decided to broadcast Masses on its Facebook site. Watching the celebration of the Eucharist helped me through some dark and scary times, and my pastor always had encouraging homilies.

See how easy that is, to be thankful for obviously, wonderful things!

But really, that’s just low hanging fruit.

It’s harder to be grateful for difficult times. For difficult people. For hardships. For loss.

I have to say that, with the wisdom that comes with age, I am beginning to see how difficulties have actually brought blessings to me. They have opened doors that set my life in new and wonderful directions.

I remember a betrayal that happened when I was 19 years old. It devastated me. In retrospect, I realize that the event actually catapulted me out of a difficult black and white world into a bright and shiny technicolor one with wonderful possibilities.

It took me years to see the blessings that arose out of it.

If I take the time to look back at my life, I can find amazing changes that were born out of pain. And the good news? It’s getting easier to recognize them.

Perhaps it helps to be guided by the words from Romans 8: “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose.”

And so I am praying to be filled with a grateful heart. For the good times. And the bad ones.