I would say that thanks is the highest form of thought,
and that gratitude is thankfulness doubled by wonder.
– GK Chesterton (alt.)
Gratia – (Latin) grace
Gratitude arises from thankfulness for what we already have. The goodness of life always comes from beyond ourselves. Our birth is not something that we arranged; we grow throughout our lives through the resources that are already in motion in the society in which we live. Gratitude is the moral memory of the experience of abundance. Gratitude is the queen of virtues, wrote Cicero.
Here’s a hint: some people lack the ability to be grateful. Chronic ingratitude is cyclic in certain individuals. Chronically ungrateful, others never seem to be able to do right by them. This becomes a jaded downward spiral where ingratitude births ingratitude, unable to recognize the healthy rhythms of when people are naturally life-giving.
As much as we are told not to trust strangers yet everything we do is based on our doing so; you go into a restaurant and expect the cook and waiter to bring you healthy food, and they give this to you expecting you to pay your bill after eating. Gratitude follows on the part of each party in this situation millions of times a day around the world.
Healthy people recognize this.
New research suggests that ingrates are programmed to view favours as never being good enough.
Gratitude needs to be distinguished from appreciation.
Gratitude recognizes that something has been conferred – a benefaction.
Teachers whom we most revere are not necessarily those who taught well, but who opened us up to ourselves.
Gratitude is a disposition of the soul and something that shapes our thoughts, and our feelings, and most importantly, our actions, and is best served in our faith through a remembered relationship with God and the Creation.