Graced Gratitude and Disgraced Ingratitude
Psychologist Robert Emmons (UC Davis) suggests that gratitude is at the core of the Ignatian examen of consciousness. It is an interior depth we experience out of which flows a profound sense of being gifted. As a fundamental orientation, gratitude lends significance and meaning to relationships, events, experiences, and ultimately, to life itself. Setting aside time on a daily basis to recall the graces one has received has the potential to interweave and thread together a sustainable life theme of highly cherished personal meaning just as it nourishes a fundamental life stance whose thrust is decidedly positive. As a consequence, when stirred to profound gratitude, we are led to experience and interpret life situations in ways thatcall forth from us an openness to and engagement with the world through purposeful actions in order to share and increase the very good we have received. Ignatian spirituality deepens our understanding of the nature, origins, and functions of gratitude and can guide practical ways to cultivate gratitude on a daily basis.