Decades of Thanksgiving

A creative way to count your blessings

A few weeks ago, Chris Stefanick — a Catholic writer, speaker, and founder of Real Life Catholic — spoke at my parish about joy. During this incredible evening, Chris discussed the importance of living with joy and suggested ways to attain it. By adding gratefulness to our days, he explained, and by giving thanks for everything, we can increase the joy we feel and the joy we project outward. One of the ways he said he expresses thanks is by holding his Rosary and giving thanks for one thing on each bead. 

I loved that idea, and I started doing it immediately. Every day since then, I have either started or ended my day with that practice. And I can tell already that it has made a difference. 

I have always tried to be thankful and to express my thanks to God for the gifts in my life — for the big things, the little things, and everything in between. Throughout my day, I will say a quick thanks to Him for various things. And in my family’s prayer before dinner, we will always add in “Thank you for all of your blessings.” 

But this concerted effort to come up with 59 things a day (one for each bead) to be thankful for has reminded me of all the blessings — big and small — we all have in our lives, even when things seem bleak. 

Add a gratitude practice to your day this summer

So today, as part of building a culture of life in your home, I challenge you and your family to begin this practice and to add it into your days all summer long.   

If you look at how you spend your days, you will see that they are likely filled with work, taking care of your family (with everything that entails), and time-guzzling activities like scrolling through social media. 

Social media can add fun and entertainment into our lives. This is important as we unwind at the end of a long day. But frequently, it kills our joy. Snarky or outright nasty responses to news or to posts often make us angry or even full of hatred or resentment. 

When we take a step back and look at this objectively, we will see that this is what Satan wants. He loves to see division — whether that is in our homes, in our communities, in the workplace, or in our country. And he is having a field day today! 

There is truly no greater time than the present to put a halt to the power that our phones, computers, and the news have over us and to make changes in our lives. 

Gratitude fosters joy

Focusing on what we are thankful for, devoting time to learning about our faith, and providing our children with examples of saints to emulate can help us create and foster joy in our lives. And when we spend time teaching our children about joyful saints — for example, Saint John Bosco, Saint Damien of Molokai, and Blessed Carlo Acutis (who will become the first Millennial saint!) — who lived their lives for Christ and who joyfully cared for others, we build that foundation they need to combat the evil and negativity of the world. 

Summer can be a great time to put away electronic devices and to develop new habits. Our pace is slower, there’s more time to spend as a family, and the pressures of school are not weighing on us. Adding in extra time to offer thanks to God is a fantastic way for families to shut out the outside world and to create that inner joy we all so desperately need today. 

Share your thoughts with the Catholic Mom community! You’ll find the comment box below the author’s bio and list of recommended articles.

Copyright 2024 Susan Ciancio

Image: Pixabay

Author: Susan Ciancio

Susan Ciancio is a freelance editor and writer who currently serves as the executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program and American Life League's Celebrate Life Magazine. In addition to editing fiction books, she also writes for Human Life International and secular outfits.