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Mercy Word of the Week

Date:04/04/2016

The Mercy Word of the Week

As we progress through the Jubilee Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, University Ministry offers our community a "Mercy Word of the Week" to help us focus on the themes of mercy that are already so closely aligned to our mission and heritage as an institution sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy.

The first Monday of each month will bring a brief reflection on each of the University's Core Values as expressions of our Mercy charism. We hope these focused thoughts will lead to your own considered contemplation on mercy and its role in your life.

Gratitude: G.K. Chesterton once said that "thanks are the highest form of thought; and…gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder." I love this maxim. I love that it locates the practice of gratitude, beautifully and simply, in both the intellectual and emotional realms of the human experience. I love the understood and fundamental importance of gratitude in this categorization.

Regrettably, gratitude is a practice and a frame of mind that gets lost in our pressurized existence. In our rush to get to work, to get through out day, to get home again, we often forget to take time and reflect on what we have: The breath in our bodies, a roof over our head, clothes on our back and food on our tables. Unless we are stopped in our tracks by some ineffable fortuitous event, we often don't give ourselves the time, on a daily basis, to think about how lucky we are and how happy we should be in our wonderful good fortune; in sum, we don't engage in gratitude in a continuous, mindful way, adn that is truly a shame.

I think what Chesterton gets at in an important, true way is that gratitude is an integral part of being a self-reflective, thoughtful human being, that it is a process that magnifies our happiness precisely because it is rooted in the sensible reflection of what our gifts really mean to us, even if we can't truly explain how or why we've been given the good things in our lives.

Shannon Ambrose

Department of Language and Literature


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