NCRegister Blog: All I Want for Christmas is a Thankful Heart

Have you ever received a gift and immediately criticized it in your mind? You said “thank you” on the outside, but inside you thought of all the ways that it was not ideal. With Christmas almost here, I find myself hoping to avoid this pattern of ingratitude. My desire to be in control makes it hard for me to accept graciously something picked out by anyone else. Instead of being thankful to the person who was thoughtful towards me and was trying to express love, I feel a twinge of yucky ingratitude, which is contrary to the love I should have for them. When I fail to be properly grateful, I lack true charity towards others, and demonstrate my lack of gratitude. Yet, now that I have seen this failing in myself, I am determined to make a change.

It was not until recently that I realized that my ingratitude was not just me be picky, but it was a vice. St. Thomas Aquinas explains that ingratitude is a habitual act that leads us to not respond justly to the gifts and good things we receive from others. (see Summa Theologiae, II-II, 106-107) When I fail to feel and give proper thanks to another person, I am acting unjustly. And every time I do a thorough examination of conscience I find that my ingratitude (surprise!) extends to the way I respond to the things God has given me. All too often I complain about the blessings in my life that I see as inconveniences.

Read the rest at the National Catholic Register…