25 November 2014

The Faces of Gratitude

Which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent?  If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:9-11) 

I have written here recently about gratitude and also spoken about it in my parish in connection with recent daily readings. Sometimes it is hard to remember that, as Br David Steindl-Rast teaches so well, gratitude is the heart of prayer but I will bet that the images of gratitude in the following video will be hard to forget!

The story is this: A young boy desires a tablet for his birthday. His mom decides to prank him and wraps a cutting board up to make him think he got the tablet. Despite his disappointment (which he tries to hide), he shows gratitude for the present. Next he is given a shoebox and while shoes might be cool, they are not a tablet.

Or are they?  In line with David Steindl-Rast's comments, Abraham Heschel once wrote that "prayer is our humble response to the inconceivable surprise of living". The boy's response (I wish I knew his name!) is a wonderful picture of gratitude and a terrific image of the attitude of prayer we are to have for (and express with) the gift of our lives.