Preparation for Spiritual Warfare takes many shapes. Confession, aka Sacrament of Reconciliation, is always a good place to begin, but another very good beginning is GRATITUDE. An act of will is a good way to begin with any virtue and can be chosen even in the face of uncooperative emotions. Feelings are not fact! It is not essential to FEEL a virtue to HAVE that virtue. I’m grateful as an axiom. Still, I wanted to feel the emotion of gratitude, not just the fact of it.
Recently, we had a fire that cost a lot in lost equipment and there was no insurance because the increased cost of health insurance sucked up so much cash we were forced to drop some of the insurance on equipment that was in storage and presumably safe. Well, it wasn’t. But strangely, that huge monetary loss has resulted in a deeper emotional connection to my gratitude.
To my delight, I FEEL my cup running over. I LOVE my new office. I love sharing the RV as our sleeping quarters. We have a roof that is sound. Enough food, a kitchen to cook it in, plenty of electricity to run everything, a working coffee pot and plenty of coffee (both decaf and regular!), we are all healthy, we are together, etc. In short, we have what we NEED. Everything we actually NEED is still ours. I feel grateful for how good we have it, and I use some of my leisure to pray more diligently for those who are suffering– I want them to have it good too.
So today, cultivate gratitude. Choose it as an act of will, and make sure you know in your own mind the list of your blessings no matter how your emotions feel. Make gratitude a fact, then ask God to do whatever He needs to do to bring your emotions into proper order with the fact that you choose gratitude.
Dear Lord, thank You for the many blessings in our lives. Please help us make an act of will to choose to be grateful no matter how we feel. Please do the work in our emotions so they come into line with the fact that we are grateful. +Amen.