TOROK: In Gratitude - God’s plan is filled with blessings

November 24, 2020

I was blessed to be raised in a family that emphasized being grateful for what one had and received. Indeed, nowadays, I am often made aware of the many youths who lead a life of gratitude; they are quick to share the things and ways God has blessed them. Over time, I have observed that gratitude is a virtue that, when authentically experienced, will grow, deepen and evolve into a treasure of one’s life.

How many times have we heard someone say “count your blessings?” Awareness seems to be a big catalyst for growing in gratitude. The process of mentally gathering those blessings makes us feel good; perhaps it makes us feel cared for.

Awareness of our blessings moves us to thank those who have shared a particular gift with us. We may be moved to gratitude of God for placing those people in our lives. Then one begins to see that this concept of gratitude is created by design — God’s design. We begin to know that gratitude is a gift from God, a grace. Gratitude yields joy and love and gives life.

What an intricate plan God has for each of our lives that he would place people in our paths to bless us. Or better yet, what a wonderful plan God has for us, placing each one of us in the life of others that we might bless them through our acts and words. Awareness of this grace also deepens our gratitude. Am I aware of this grace in my life? Am I developing a spirituality of gratitude for God’s continued and constant plan of blessing for me?

St. Theresa of Calcutta said, “The best way to show my gratitude is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy.” Talk about an evolved sense of gratitude: accepting problems. So many times, I recall lamenting, Lord, please fix this; or Lord, please heal me.

However, a mature faith will yield gratitude wherein one begins to thank God for one’s blessings then adds, “Lord, if it is Your will, take this situation away from me or heal me.” Or perhaps, an evolved sense of gratitude will say, “Please God, let me endure and learn from this situation that I may give thanks because You know what I need, and I know there is some gift in all of this.”

During this season of Thanksgiving, let us show our gratitude to God for this great treasure — His divine plan of blessing for our lives. Let us give thanks for all the people who bless us, for all God provides and for allowing us to find good in every situation that we experience life in Christ.

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thess. 5:18 

Norma Torok is an associate director in the Office of Adolescent Catechesis and Evangelization.

Teen Talk

Q: What are some blessings in your life that you thank God for?
“God has blessed me with many things. One of the most important blessings that I am most thankful for is the ability to get an education. I believe this is critical in order to be successful in life, and God has blessed me with the knowledge to succeed.”
– John H., St. John the Baptist (Alvin)

“Gratitude is when you appreciate everything that comes at you in life. From staying on the bench at your first basketball game to getting a card, they are all God’s blessings. I am very thankful for everything God has done in my life.”
– Alfredo R., St. Philip of Jesus

“I thank God first and foremost for my family. There have been a lot of times that my family has been there for me when I needed them the most. My second blessing that I’m thankful for is the youth ministers at my church. They do so much to keep teens involved and intrigued in pursuing the Church.”
– Patrick C., St. Helen (Pearland)

“I thank God every day for my family, friends and for everything I have, but overall I thank God for my mom because she is just so precious, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without her.”
– Nancy R., St. Matthias (Magnolia)

“There are a few things that I find I am grateful for when I pray every night, and it doesn’t consist of new shoes, AirPods or materialistic items. I find that at the end of each day, what most impacts my life are friends and family who provide that up-close love that inspires me daily.”
– Grace H., St. Edward (Spring)

“There are so many blessings in my life. First and foremost, I have been given the most incredible older brother in the world. My brother is loving and caring and a wonderful listener. He comes into my room at the end of the day and just asks me how my day was. He has brought me closer to Jesus.”
– Nicole H.,
Mary Queen (Friendswood)

“I thank God for putting in place all the things that brought me to where I’m at right now, good and bad. Specifically, my strong foundation in the faith from Christian television, my privilege in attending Catholic high school, and the love from my close-knit parish.”
– Franklin N., St. Albert of Trapani

“Things that I thank God for daily is His love for me, the people that were picked by God to be my family, and the glorious eternal plan He has for me.”
– Aubrea B., Our Lady of Lourdes