Recently, I was programming and working with ordered sets. So, for example, an ordered set would be any of the following:

[1,2,3,4,5]

[“Apples”, “Oranges”, “Kiwis”]

[“Water”, “Air”, “Fire”]

When considering the above ordered sets, it is clear that each set proceeds in a specific way, at a specific point, up to a specific point.

Analogously, we all are “ordered sets” in that God gave us specific gifts, blessings, state in life, experiences, resources, etc. Yet, the second he allows or wills something to be taken out of our ordered life, most of us will cry out in pain, anguish, anger, or some other “negative” emotion, that is, the emotion is fodder for our self-love.

Lacking Gratitude

This self-love is insidious since what we have at any time in our lives is, ultimately, the mercy of God. For example, I do not maintain my existence; God, in his mercy towards us and from his love, maintains my existence. God’s mercy even extends to events in our life that take things out of our “ordered set.”

Consider a horrible event in your life (we all have had them!). Looking back on what seemed like a horrible event at the time, what good came out of that which could never had happened if that event had not set things in motion? Again, for example, you lost a job that you loved (which would take an element out of the ordered set of your life) and then you went searching for some other job, which was the point of catapulting you into a new, better professional life. Let’s say along the way in this new professional path you met your spouse and found a nice place to live. In this hypothetical example, you are net-positive in your “ordered set.”

Do you daily thank God for these mercies and gifts? Gratitude is so important for the spiritual life and building love of God. In fact, I think gratitude is, at minimum, a necessary element of the spiritual life and spiritual growth.

Ways to focus on gratitude

Gratitude is easy when things are good, but difficult when things are hard. Let’s say God strips you of everything in your “ordered set.” In other words, you are effectively put on the street with nothing. You still have God and His Love for you. God never fails.

Do we thank Him for his eternal faithfulness and love? His continuous pursuit of our good? His protection? The fact that, no matter what happens here, he wants to give us his divine life?

Try focusing on gratitude in prayer, especially for God Himself. You will see a diminishing of self-love and growth in love of God that will pull on the strings of Heart. He does not desire sacrifices, but a contrite heart. The least we can do is tell him, “Thank you!”

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