"John did a spectacular job presenting at our parish.  His joy of the Lord and enthusiasm in sharing Jesus with others is contagious! 

We are planning to have him return soon."

Gina Mesko

Discipleship Coordinator, Office of the New Evangelization

Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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GRATITUDE CHANGES US


What are you grateful for?

Most people want to live a life of significance; they want their life to mean something, maybe it’s to make the world a better place, to get married, maybe it’s to raise their children with good values, maybe its fame and glory. The truth is, you can be significant where you are and with what you have. I believe the first step in realizing your own significance and how to live a life of meaning and purpose is through gratitude. We all know that gratitude is a way to show appreciation for love, kindness, health, a good life, even suffering. It is an intentional act of being thankful for who you are, what you have, and what you aspire to be. As a Catholic, I believe that Thanksgiving is a way of communicating and connecting with God in a deeper personal level.

My life transforms through gratitude. In the moment of Gratitude I allow myself to experience an encounter with our Lord Jesus. By first verbalizing Jesus Christ love for us. I use these words “I thank you Jesus, I praise you Jesus” and speak what I am grateful for in my life.

I learned at an early age that it is OK to generalize gratitude, but when you intentionally specify and name what you are grateful for, it becomes more significant and you experience a deeper appreciation in your soul. In other words, your whole being participates in thanksgiving; your mind, body, heart, spirit, your soul…everything. Instead of saying I am grateful for my family, specify and name each of them. To take this one step deeper, intently look at the relationship with each of them; and speak out on one or many things why you are grateful with them and pray for them. It doesn’t have to be big or complicated. For example: “I am grateful for my wife and the strong relationship we have. I know we had some miscommunication today so how I can be better?” Then I allow God to work through me and let Him bless us.

I do the same thing with friends, work, and other everyday things. This enriches my life in a big way; it helps me be more aware of the blessings in my life and be grateful for all things. This also helps to intentionally evaluate myself and my relationships. Why is this important? It allows me to ask, what can I do to add value to others? What can I do better the next time I am serving my family, my clients, or my friends?

I must admit gratitude is a continuous life process. In general, what I try to do is be aware of where I am, what I am doing, and who I am with; this enables me to be truly present and grateful for all of life’s moments. Gratitude should be expressed inwardly and outwardly every time you have an opportunity and not limited to specific days like Thanksgiving, Birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s Day and Christmas. I also believe that it is important to schedule a time to reflect on deep gratitude. Take an hour a week (or even 10-20mins) and really focus on the specifics as to why you were thankful throughout your week.

We all can offer gratitude, regardless of our situations. I have discovered the value and positive impact of practicing the art of gratitude. This amazing mindset for gratitude fuels enthusiasm and joy for life, it gives you a better awareness of those things that are most important to you and helps you discover your why, your purpose/mission in life. Being intentional in our gratitude heals our mind, hearts and soul. It’s a sure way of increasing happiness and living a purposeful life. Gratitude can change everything and most importantly changes us.