Always Give Thanks to the Lord


For me October is not only a month of Our Lady of the Rosary, but also a month of special thanksgiving.  It’s true we thank God every day especially celebrating our Eucharist.  But in October all our brothers and sisters in Canada join in giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day.

Many find drawing up a gratitude list is a good way to celebrate this day.  It’s like ‘counting one’s blessings’.  A couple of weeks ago my niece Candace emailed me an article with an interesting twist on that.  In “Don’t Count Your Blessings. Do This Instead” Ozan Varol wrote, “This Thanksgiving, create the George Bailey effect in your life. Instead of counting your blessings, subtract them. The results will surprise you.”

Explaining that ‘counting his blessings’ too many times had lost its impact on him, he decided on a new approach.  Inspired by the classic film often viewed at Christmas, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, in which the main character, George Bailey, was granted his wish that he would not have been born and then witnessed the dreadful things that happened to his community as a result, Ozan slightly changed his list.

Using his imagination he reflected on what his life would be like without each of those blessings on his list.  It transformed his gratitude quotient entirely.

I tried the technique myself taking some of the items on my list of blessings: my parents, my siblings, my Jesuit vocation, my priestly vocation, my parish congregation, the Knights of Columbus.  It opened up an array of wonder and gratitude in my heart.

Perhaps during this month, you too can apply the George Bailey approach to your list of blessings and be surprised at its effects!


Note from the Editor: Although meant as a Thanksgiving post, “The George Bailey effect ” is also useful during Advent.

Frank Obrigewitsch, SJ, is pastor of St. Ignatius parish in Winnipeg.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 08:50h, 03 December Reply

    Thank you Frank!

  • Margaret Powell
    Posted at 13:59h, 03 December Reply

    A thought provoking essay. Reminds us to appreciate our blessings and share them with others.

  • Jerry Herauf
    Posted at 20:02h, 03 December Reply

    Thanks for sharing, Frank! Nice hearing from you again!!

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