The power of gratitude


Once I have received a well-read audio clip on my WhatsApp account. When I heard it I could sense its freshness. It was so real! So refreshing! So life-giving!

There was a bird that lived in the desert. This poor bird was very sick. It had no feathers and nothing to eat and drink. It had no shelter to live either. And, this bird, kept it on cursing its life day and night. One day, an angel was crossing that desert. The bird stopped the angel and asked him: “Where are you going?” To this question the angel replied: “I am going to meet God.” So the bird, rightly, asked the angel: “Please ask God when my suffering will come to an end.” Then, the angel retorted: “Sure, I will.” And, having said that, it bid goodbye to the bird.

Hence, the angel reached God’s place and shared the message of the bird to Him. The angel told God how miserable the bird’s condition was and asked to know when the bird’s suffering would end. And God replied: “For the next seven lifetimes, the bird has to suffer like this, no happiness till then.” To this reply the angel answered that when the bird hears this it will get disheartened. “Could you suggest any solution for this?” he ventured to ask. And God replied: “Tell the bird to recite this: ‘Thank you God for everything’.”

It happened that the angel met the bird again and delivered the message of God to it. After seven days the angel passed the same path again and saw that bird. How happy that bird was! Its feathers had grown on its body, a small plant grew up in the desert area and a small pond of water was also there. At all this the bird was singing and dancing cheerfully. The angel was marvelled as to how this might have happened especially when he remembered that “God said for seven lifetimes, there is no happiness for the bird…” With this question in mind he went to visit God.

The angel asked his question to God who promptly replied: “Yes, it was written there will be no happiness for the bird for seven lifetimes, but because the bird was reciting the mantra, ‘Thank you God for everything’ in every situation. Thus, when the bird fell down on the hot sand, it said: ‘Thank you God for everything’. When it could not fly it said: ‘Thank you God for everything’. So, in whatever situation the bird kept on repeating: ‘Thank you God for everything’ and, therefore, the seven lifetimes’ karma got dissolved in seven days!”

How powerful is gratitude! It cancelled the bird’s destruction and turned it into an ongoing blessing! And this came about because gratitude paves the way for its concomitant sister, blessing, to work fully! In his general audience of Wednesday, May 13 2015, Pope Francis made the following reflection on the importance of gratitude:

“Gratitude, however, stands at the very core of the faith of the believer. A Christian who does not know how to thank has lost the very ‘language’ of God. This is terrible! Let’s not forget Jesus’ question after he heals the ten lepers and only one of them returns to thank him (Luke 17:18). I remember once listening to a very wise, old person; very simple, but with that uncommon wisdom of life and piety: ‘Gratitude is a plant that grows only in the soil of noble souls’. That nobility of soul, that grace of God in the soul compels us to say ‘thank you’ with gratitude. It is the flower of a noble soul. This really is something beautiful”.

From now on, and in every situation we shall be in, let us always be thankful to Jesus! No matter the circumstances, we can always respond to what might come around by being grateful. And grateful just because each and every single moment is, essentially, God’s grace for us!

Let us be thankful to His loving intervention in our lives! As the Psalm proclaims: O give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his steadfast love endures forever! (Ps 118:29).

I give to you O Lord the thanks due to your righteousness, and I sing praise to your name O Lord, the Most High. Amen.

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