Gratitude is the superfood of the soul. It has been noted as an important tool in resisting depressive thinking and can have an immediate positive impact on our mood.
Gratitude fosters the habit of counting our blessings, of noticing the many, often over-looked, goods in our life, thus helping us to be more optimistic and resilient in the face of challenges.
Memories and dreams are both important: they keep us in touch with our history and connected to our future. However, authentic joy can only be experience in the present moment.
It’s amazing how little time and attention we often give to the miraculous present.
Also called ‘mindfulness’, presence is the practice of attuning our attention to the moment. It helps us to appreciate unnoticed details, listen deeply, gaze intently and connect profoundly with the one in front of us. It is a powerful strategy for awakening our sense of the divine in every day moments.
Nothing kills our joy faster than resentment. It’s like a poison that pollutes our soul and cripples our spirit.
Resentments accumulate and become toxic to spiritual and bodily health when we fail to forgive. The one harmed most in this dynamic is ourselves and those close to us, especially our spouse and children.
Forgiveness is not to deny that we have been injured, sometimes severely and unjustly, rather it is to redeem it. Remember that forgiveness is not an emotion; it’s a decision of the will to let go of your resentment.
Ultimately, it is one of the greatest acts of self-love.
Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves. We berate ourselves for being stupid, lazy, undisciplined, selfish, or any number of inadequacies or mistakes we may have made.
Such negative self-accusation can hold us captive in the past and prevent us of accessing one of the most powerful ‘feel-good’ traditions of our faith: the mercy of God.
Surprisingly, our pride and lack of humility is often the biggest barrier to seeking God’s mercy. Humility should not be confused with negative self-esteem. In the words of C.S. Lewis
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less”.
Literally meaning ‘with feeling’, compassion helps us connect with the interior experience of others and develop an awareness of the needs of others.
Compassion motivates us for service of others and helps to develop selflessness.
It may seem counter-intuitive because we assume that pursuing our own needs and goals would be more likely to make us happy, in fact, it is when we think about and serve others that we are more likely to experience joy.
About Francine Pirola
Francine is the founder of CathFamily and its first editor. She is the mother of five children and has been married to Byron for 28 years. She has been working in marriage enrichment and prepartion with Byron for over twenty years.