One Secret to a Happy Life


from In Conversation with God
Francis Fernandez

The virtue of gratitude forms a real bond among men and reveals fairly clearly the interior quality of the person. As popular wisdom puts it: breeding and thankfulness go together. Human relationships suffer in the absence of this virtue. . . .

Whoever is thankful to God is thankful to those around him. He is more prompt to appreciate and be thanful for any small favours. The proud person who is always absorbed with ihis own things cannot be thankful; he feels that everything is his due.

To quote Father O'Holohan, a very holy, very wise, wonderful Jesuit priest who served out community for a long time, "You cannot be grateful and unhappy." I believe him. The grateful heart is a happy heart. How can we be at once thankful and unhappy? I suppose it is possible, but I cannot imagine the two states coexisting in the same person.

Gratitude has as its concomittant happiness, and perhaps even joy. I truly believe that if we could cultivate the habit of gratitude and live a life truly grateful for what we have and what God grants us day after day, we would be a people more full of the joy of the Christian life. We would be naturally buoyed up. We could do worse than to pray for an overabundance of gratitude. Gratitude feeds charity and self-giving. The grateful person is always seeking a way to repay the good that has been done him. We would, in short, bear strong witness to why it is worthwhile to be a Christian. Presently, that witness is far too uncommon--our internal squabbles are aired along with the battle reports from Iraq. We spend too much time in judging and not enough in thanking.

Or perhaps not. But I know that when I am truly grateful, I am at my happiest.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 5, 2004 12:16 PM.

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