The Relationship between Gratitude and Patience

Thanksgiving greeting

The Relationship between Gratitude and Patience


Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

I hope you are enjoying some down-time, soaking up the company of family and loved ones and eating some good food. But if you’re online anyways, I’m happy that you’re here reading this post.

How do you know if you are a grateful person?

Our pastor gave a very thought provoking homily on Sunday. He proposed that you can observe or gratitude in a person by the way they exercise patience.

Come again?

I like to think of myself as a grateful person, but I definitely wouldn’t call myself a patient person. It’s not that I am hot-tempered, but I can get sullen when things are not jiving like I’d like them to. Internally, I’m prone to throwing my hands up and saying “Come on! I can’t deal with this! What gives??”

Patience demonstrates the ability to endure challenges and speed bumps without getting too easily flustered and bent out of shape. You can see it in the popular “Keep calm, carry on” phrase. It’s something you see exercised a lot by saints. (It’s also something I’ve often noticed in parents of large families, incidentally.)

Our pastor’s point was that people who are grateful are more patient because they measure their challenges against their blessings. Since they are so aware of their blessings, they say “We can accept this challenge, Lord. After all, you have given us so much.”

I take inspiration and encouragement from this. I’m inspired because I would love to be like that, and I’m encouraged because it means that if I exercise thanksgiving more, I can grow in patience.

Do you think that we live in a patient world? I think these qualities are sometimes in short supply in our generation. You see it in it’s extreme form when people use the online acronym “FML”. We probably all know what that means, so I won’t spell it out, but this saying is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. If you can go ahead and casually curse your own life like that you are probably living in some kind of Lala Land. Let’s reality-check ourselves if we feel like that, ask for the strength to gracefully bear challenges, and immediately thank God for something good in our life.

There’s an Indian proverb I’ve always liked: “Let us not pray for lighter burdens, but for stronger backs.”   

Want to be more patient? Me, too. We can pray for it, as it is a fruit of the spirit (cf. Gal 5:22-23). Let’s also ask for the intercession of a great man of patience and gratitude, St. Joseph. Think of the bumps along the road to and from Bethlehem.  It is truly amazing for anyone to keep their cool under these circumstances. Read Matthew 1:18-2:23 and ask yourself how you would respond if you were in Joseph’s shoes.

Did you know that St. Joseph is also the patron of Canada? There’s another reason to ask his prayers today.

St. Joseph, full of patience and gratitude. Pray for us.

Question: What are you most grateful for today?


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