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Faith Comment published in the Petersfield Post

26 October 2011: Jean Halliday, Saint Laurence

Gratitude

A saint that I admire greatly is a little known seventeenth century priest from Normandy in France called St John Eudes. His spirituality focused on the sacred hearts of Jesus and Mary and recognising the profound gift of love that mankind receives from these hearts; he had a deep gratitude to God.

However, he did not confine this sense of gratitude to God but believed it important to be thankful to all who showed him and the community kindness and generosity.

For me this practice of gratitude has given me a sense of equilibrium, time and time again. When faced with the world's very dark side, the poverty, injustice and the greed of the rich and powerful, I so easily tend towards cynicism and despair. When this happens I have to force myself to stop and reflect on the points in my life that I have experienced God's intervention. On the people I have been privileged to know, to review exactly what gifts I have received and to be thankful.

Then I look beyond my own circle and see those many people in my local and the wider community, who do so much for others without thought or expectation of thanks. They are the people who rarely find themselves on the news and who therefore are going about their generous lives quietly and modestly. We should always be thankful for such people because they are the small lights in this dark world that together bring brightness and warmth to us all.
These reflections bring me to a more balanced view of the world and I have a renewed strength to add my own small light to theirs.

"With gratitude in your hearts sing psalms and hymns and inspired songs to God; and never say or do anything except in the name of Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians chapter 3 verse 17

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