When I was studying philosophy as part of my Jesuit formation, I found that philosophy is not an easy subject. I felt that life was so difficult because many philosophical writings contain vague concepts. Moreover, I had difficulty finding a good mentor who could help me to learn those abstract philosophical concepts. Consequently, I complained a lot to God and felt that God had abandoned me. Every Jesuit makes an annual 8-day silent retreat and after the end of my first year of study, I made my 8 day silent retreat. In the retreat, I came to realize that I had forgotten to be thankful to God and instead my prayers had been filled with tons of complaints.
St. Ignatius of Loyola said that ingratitude is the most abominable of sins. For St. Ignatius of Loyola among all the virtues that we must cultivate, the one by which he was especially distinguished is the virtue of gratitude. In the Spiritual Exercises, the highlight of gratitude can be noted in several instances. In the general examination of conscience, instead of jumping right away to a thought of committing mortal sin, St. Ignatius invited us to give thanks to God for all the favors we received. In the Contemplation to Attain Love, the grace that we pray is to ask for an intimate knowledge of the many blessings, which God lovingly shares with us. Filled with gratitude, we want to be empowered to respond with total service and love.
As we celebrate the annual feast of Thanksgiving, St. Ignatius of Loyola is the source of inspiration on how we should be forever grateful for all the blessings we receive.