Sarah Hanley

As Catholics, we strive to show gratitude for Christ’s blessings by the way we live our lives every day. During the Thanksgiving season, we are especially mindful of the many gifts we have received and to show our gratitude. But the truth is, there are times when feeling and expressing gratitude can be challenging.

With personal and societal setbacks affecting our lives each day, sometimes it becomes difficult to find the good. During these times, we must remember that God is always with us, guiding us and protecting us, and that is reason enough to be grateful.

Nevertheless, I’m sharing some tips on how to be more mindful of the abundance of blessings from God in all of our lives, especially now during this very special season.

Tune out excess noise

Whether it’s noise from those around you or your social media accounts, it’s best to tune out negative attitudes. But in a world where we’re constantly connected to one another, that can at times feel impossible. I recommend taking time away from digital devices, as well as taking time for yourself, to embrace and appreciate all that you’ve been blessed with.


Prayer is a powerful resource

Our faith teaches us that prayer brings us closest to God. When we pray, we are directly communicating with God, leaning on him in times of sorrow, and celebrating with him in times of joy. Prayer nurtures our personal relationship with God. If we can remember to prioritize it and openly communicate with God, gratitude will naturally follow.

Embrace forgiveness

Holding on to negative emotions toward a person or situation actively prevents us from achieving gratitude. Ask God to help you learn and embrace forgiveness. The moment you let go of feelings like bitterness or hostility, that’s the moment you will feel most gracious and closest to Christ.

Even during the tough times, we must look for ways in which Christ touches our lives and embrace gratitude for His presence. I find these tips to be particularly helpful and I hope you will too.

As we approach Thanksgiving and prepare for treasured time with those we love, let us commit to embracing Christ’s presence and showing our gratitude to Him. We need to take the time to gratefully appreciate and share His bountiful blessings as we welcome the Advent season.


Sarah Hanley is the president and CEO of the Catholic Foundation of Greater Philadelphia.