In a recent conversation, my friend, Kumud Ajmani, host and moderator of #SpiritChat on Twitter, invited me to write a blog post on Gratia Plena (full of grace). That came near the end of a brief exchange that Kumud initiated with an email that began with these words:
“I went researching ‘Gratia Plena’ and found this – thought I would share with you… and get your thoughts… this part struck me deeply…” ‘It makes me wonder whether this is the message for us: that thankfulness leads to holiness. Gratitude nourishes faith. If I am thankful, not here and there, not on occasion, but rather at the core of my being; if my stance toward the world is fundamentally characterized by the recognition that the totality of my life and experience is entirely a gift, how could I avoid being joyful?’
I asked Kumud why he “went researching Gratia Plena” and here’s what he said: “I was on my way to the post office late Saturday afternoon and Apple Music suggested the new “Believe” album by Andrea Boccelli… “Gratia Plena” started playing on my way home and I was mesmerized – so, I sat in the driveway when I got back and researched it for a while… and then emailed you… ?? “
Here is part of my response:
“I believe Grace and Gratitude are part of the same overarching theme that speaks of deep and genuine appreciation – for so many things starting with the amazing and astounding gift of creation. Who are we that we are allowed to be one of the creatures taking part in this ongoing, continuous and evolving pattern of life as we know it? Religious writers have tried for centuries to make this plain… Grace and faith are so intertwined as to make them inseparable.”
Being “full of grace” means living gratefully. This week takes on a special note with the U.S. celebrating Thanksgiving. I recall the first time I heard the word “Thanksliving.” When we live each day filled with gratitude for the gifts – the gift of time, of every day we’re alive, the gift of unconditional love, the gifts of Mother Nature, of those in our lives who give of themselves unselfishly, the gifts of food and water that sustain us, the kitchen stuff of life, gratia plena. Grace/gratitude brings about faith which brings about more grace. It’s a multiplier. The more you give the more you get.
When families gather this Thanksgiving, in person or remotely, and share that for which they are grateful, what do you suppose will come up most often? I don’t know, and I won’t presume to guess, but I would hope it might be Love. That’s the essence of gratitude, loving and appreciating what has been given to us and then, perhaps our response can be, what can I give in return?
Deep and genuine gratitude nourishes and sustains us in all ways – mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Consider the mystery of love, its patient permanence and incredible understanding, the skill of art and literature that adds delight to our lives, forgiveness that cancels out shame, the benediction of strangers’ faces, the trust of little children and the witness of daring deeds that keep us free. And that’s just the beginning! Namaste!