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Nouwen and The Discipline of Gratitude

I really like what Henry Nouwen writes about the discipline of gratitude:

Gratitude … goes beyond the “mine” and “thine” and claims the truth that all of life is a pure gift. In the past I always thought of gratitude as a spontaneous response to the awareness of gifts received, but now I realize that gratitude can also be lived as a discipline. The discipline of gratitude is the explicit effort to acknowledge that all I am and have is given to me as a gift of love, a gift to be celebrated with joy.

Gratitude as a discipline involves a conscious choice. I can choose to be grateful even when my emotions and feelings are still steeped in hurt and resentment. It is amazing how many occasions present themselves in which I can choose gratitude instead of a complaint…The choice for gratitude rarely comes without some real effort. But each time I make it, the next choice is a little easier, a little freer, a little less self-conscious.

By Wess

Teacher, author, Quaker, ​and public theologian. He works at Guilford College, enjoys riding his Triumph Bonneville, and listening to music.

4 replies on “Nouwen and The Discipline of Gratitude”

Hi Wes,

Gratitude is indeed meant to be a lifestyle: both gratitude to God and to and for others. Yet, I find how easy it is to forget in the midst of a hectic world and busy lifestyles.Thanks for the reminder in this post. Gratitude makes the heart sing.

Shalom,
John Arthur

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