Gratitude Day 7 // Gratitude Shown Through Doing Good

Image by Cailin Valente

Image by Cailin Valente

Ephesians 5:8-20 Matthew 25:31-40

Actions speak louder than words. It’s one thing to say that we are grateful and to keep a gratitude journal. Unfortunately, the things we write and meditate on will ring hollow if we don’t live a life of gratitude. Gratitude is more than just a feeling, after all. It’s something we do.

“How exactly do I live a life of gratitude?” you ask.

Today’s passage from Ephesians gives some insight. Our actions should reflect how we feel. We must become a light to the world through our actions.

Part of the passage from Ephesians says:

“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly, but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.”

Before you go off playing investigative reporter, take a step back. When we act aggressive in trying to change others, we more than often end up alienating them. So how can we live out this particular part in our lives?

I’ve said in a previous study that when we lead Christ-filled lives, we ought to lead by example.

Think of a person whose actions you consider inspiring. A person can do so much more to make the world a better place outside of donating money to a charity. This is where what the Church calls the “Works of Mercy” come in. The corporal works of mercy can be found in today’s passage from Matthew: feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, give shelter to those who have nowhere to live, visit the sick and the imprisoned, and bury the dead.

I completely understand that we live busy lives. Not all of us can be Mother Teresa or go out on mission trips to third world countries. We can always start at a local level by donating food to the local food pantry and visiting local hospitals and prisons.

But the Church also offers the spiritual works of mercy, which are:

Instruct the ignorant

Counsel the doubtful

Bear wrongs patiently

Forgive offences willingly

Comfort the afflicted

Pray for the living and the dead

Admonish sinners

Now again, before any of you start playing the “shame game,” hit the brakes on that train of thought Now! Admonishing is a Very different action from judging sinners or condemning them.

Nobody is beyond forgiveness. However, nobody can be forced to change if they’re not willing to. Admonishing the sinner means helping a person recognize and admit that they have a problem. Check out this article from Catholic Culture for some further insight.

Our gratitude should be shown through our actions. When we do good, we become a good example and will hopefully inspire others to do likewise. When we share our gratitude with the world through our charitable actions, we increase the gratitude that we already have within us.

Just remember that everything should be done with God in mind.

Today’s featured song is Matthew West’s “Do Something.”

I love the music video for this song and the inspiration behind it.

Don’t sell yourselves short, dearest sisters in Christ, and feel intimidated that you may never get to do great things. As I’ve brought up before, we can all do small things with great love.

Nevertheless, sisters, we need to DO SOMETHING!

Study Questions:

1.Who is someone you consider inspiring? What kind of things do they do that make a difference? How do you think you can apply that to your life?

2.What are some ways you can do the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy in your daily life?

3.What do you think is the difference between condemning and admonishing? Why do you think it’s so hard to criticize people these days?