How can I make a return to the Lord for all the good He has done for me? The cup of salvation I will raise and I will call upon the name of the Lord. - Psalm 116:3-4
Gratitude is the memory of the heart. When we recall and recognize all that God has done for us and in us, we are moved to respond to Him and desire to give back. Like the blind man who received his sight and responded by following Christ (Matthew 20:34), those of us who have embraced teh Evangelical Counsels also offer ourselves in following Him in gratitude for all that He has given us. We raise the cup of salvation, the chalice of sacrifice, in poverty, chastity and obedience.
Gratitude is the key which unlocks the vows and helps us to remain faithful. The paradox is that our gift to Him is really in His gift to us through this way of life, because in it, His life becomes our life.
In poverty, gratitude opens our hands. It allows us to give and receive, to truly live our form of life. Thankful for what we have, thankful that we can give even the little we have. All that we have is gift. All that we give is returning it to the giver.
In chastity, gratitude opens our hearts. It allows us to give and receive the ultimate gift...the gift of love. What we give of our own love fails in comparison to what we have received. Our love is imperfect until we are wholly like Christ. Until then, we are grateful for His merciful love that never fails to pour itself out for us. It can only be given freely and offered...we must receive.
In obedience, gratitude opens our mind and our will and allows us to enter fully into God's perfect plan. When has He ever failed me? When has He intended anything but good for me? Never. Therefore, we are grateful. We are grateful that He has a plan and it is perfect, and so we offer obedience in gratitude for all that has been and all that will be, regardless of how it looks with our human eyes on this side of heaven.
To live in gratitude is to move along this road to perfection, giving and receiving, calling upon the name of the Lord with open hand and open heart. This is our offering. This is our return.
- Sister M. Karolyn, FSGM