On giving of thanks

The holy apostle Paul teaches us to thank the Lord always and in all things. However, the feeling of gratitude, for the most part, is familiar to us only when all things are smooth, when everything is going our way. Alas, in times of temptations our first reaction is grumbling, vexation, irritation. All of this does not attract the grace of God toward us, but quite the opposite, it drives it away from us. Our negative thoughts and feelings, like raging waves, toss the ship of our heart hither and thither, hindering the captain – the mind – in steering, at times threatening altogether to break it over the rocks – over bitter sorrow.

Blinded, devoid of reason by ingratitude in times of temptation, we are like sick people, who grumble and complain against the doctor for bitter, but beneficial medicine.

Let us remember Joseph the Most Comely, whom his brothers, first, wanted to kill, but then sold him into slavery, into Egypt. In all his sorrows he continued to thank the Lord and to serve Him faithfully, and for that he was rewarded with honour and glory, having become a great chief in Egypt, second to Pharaoh in power, and a saviour from hunger not only for the Egyptians, but also for his brothers.

Thanksgiving to the Lord for everything, especially for sorrows, calms the tempest of feelings and thoughts, giving the mind ability to see circumstances clearly, and consequently, the ability to make correct decisions, ones beneficial for the salvation of the soul. Ingratitude, grumbling, and sorrow darken our reason, cover the eyes of our soul with thick wall of smoke and darkness and do not allow it to see God. The one, who believes, knows that without God even joy is not a joy.

Therefore, let us try every day, every hour, at all times and in all things to fulfill this bright commandment: to thank the Lord for all things. The words of thanksgiving in our mouth will be sweet as honey, which by its sweetness helps us swallow bitter medicine. Thus, our gratitude will sweeten our sorrow and grief, will make it more tolerable, and at times altogether help us see everything in a different – Divine – light and will heal our heart, having purified it of bitterness and having filled it with joy in the Lord, Who, in all our sorrows, is our Quick and Almighty Protector.