Give Thanks At All Times

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.
– G. K. Chesterton

In all things discern the wisdom and providence of God, and in all things give Him thanks.
– St. Teresa of Avila

The human spirit without the flame of divine love tends to reach the level of the beast, while on the other hand, charity, the love of God, raises even to the throne of God. Give thanks without ever growing weary for the liberality of such a good Father and ask Him to increase holy charity more and more in your heart.
– Padre Pio

My boyfriend is a fresh convert to Catholicism, and he has an endearing/irritating habit of pausing to say grace before ingesting just about everything.

Early in our relationship, he said grace over a cup of tea, and I sighed, “Soon you’ll be on the level of my friend Clare, who says grace before drinking water!”

He smiled sheepishly. “I do that too!”

Sometimes it amuses or annoys me, because I’m using to keeping grace just for main meals, and pausing to say grace before every bit of nutrition is unfamiliar to me; I am impatient to just get on with things. But the more I pause to say grace before downing cups of tea, nibbling on biscuits, or vegging out in front of the TV with my beloved and a mug of hot chocolate, the more it creates a spirit of thankfulness for the many blessings I usually take for granted.

I am reminded of a story about St. Dominic Savio, the young student of St. John Bosco:

… there was a visitor in the house who was asked to stay for dinner. When the meal was put on the table, the man sat down and began eating without making the Sign of the Cross or saying any prayer. Dominic did not presume to correct the visitor, but left the table and stayed away until the visitor had gone. When asked by his parents why he had acted in this very unusual way, he said, “I did not like to be at table with one who eats just like animals do.” (Don Bosco, Life of Dominic Savio)

We humans have been given the gift of an intellect which can recognize the gratuitousness of all creation and the workings of Divine Providence in our lives. Let us pause to give thanks for every blessing from our Heavenly Father, and thus be moved to return our love for His in all that we do.

One act of thanksgiving when things go wrong with us is worth one thousand thank yous when things are agreeable to our inclination.
– St. John of Ávila

Giving thanks is not weakness but strength, for it involves self-repression.
– Venerable Archbishop Sheen, Those Mysterious Priests

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
– 1 Thessalonians 5:18

You ought to ask our Lord for just one thing, to love Him. All the rest should be thanksgiving.
– Padre Pio

Image: CrossWalk