Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gratitude - the most complete prayer

Many if not all virtues are interrelated, the lines between them blurred. Aristotle believed that no virtue was found in isolation. I remember using the following quote in my post Humility - accepting suffering with joy:

The truly patient man does not examine who is testing him, whether it is his superior, his equal or his inferior, a good man or a bad man. But, treating all indiscriminately, he receives from God’s hand, gratefully, and as often as He likes, everything contrary that happens to him, and considers it a great benefit.
(‘Imitation de N.S. J├ęsus Christ’)

My point was that the humble man does not rebel against what is happening to him, as if it should not be happening to him because he is superior. He accepts it willingly. In the Tao Te Ching we read that the man who follows the Tao accepts, like water, the lowly places that no one else wants.
I later used the same quote in my post Patience – the greatest prayer. My point was then that the humble man is necessarily patient: not putting his own interests forward, not feeling unjustly dealt with, but accepting whatever comes his way with faith and philosophy.
And now I have quoted it again in this post on gratitude. For as you have read, our truly patient, humble man receives gratefully everything contrary that happens to him and counts it a great blessing. Humility, patience, gratitude. Who can say where one leaves off and the other begins?

A proud man is seldom a grateful man, for he never thinks he gets as much as he deserves. Henry Ward Beecher

Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation. Brian Tracy

There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The difficulties, hardships and trials of life, the obstacles… are positive blessings. They knit the muscles more firmly, and teach self-reliance. William Mathews

I remember how we saw that humility is the root of all good, the foundation of all virtues. If humility is the root, patience is the tree and gratitude the branches. We saw also in Humility - accepting suffering with joy how the Rabbi, in his gratitude for all that God gave him, could not understand why he should know something of suffering.

Remember that not to be happy is not to be grateful. Elizabeth Carter

In our daily lives, we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness that makes us happy. Albert Clarke

Whenever we are appreciative, we are filled with a sense of well-being and swept up by the feeling of joy. M.J. Ryan

There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy. Ralph H. Blum

There is not a more pleasing exercise of the mind than gratitude. It is accompanied with such an inward satisfaction that the duty is sufficiently rewarded by the performance. Joseph Addison

Gratitude is our most direct line to God and the angels. If we take the time, no matter how crazy and troubled we feel, we can find something to be thankful for. The more we seek gratitude, the more reason the angels will give us for gratitude and joy to exist in our lives. Terry Lynn Taylor

To speak gratitude is courteous and pleasant, to enact gratitude is generous and noble, but to live gratitude is to touch Heaven. Johannes A. Gaertner

A simple grateful thought toward Heaven is the most complete prayer. Gotthold Lessing

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was thank you that would suffice. Meister Eckhart

Gratitude is heaven itself. William Blake

No comments:

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond