Brethren, May should be the month of gratitude. We as Masons and Americans have so much to be grateful for. We live in the best country in the world bar none. It may not be perfect, but we strive to make our union more perfect every day. We should not despair when our country is off track or on decline. We are a young nation compared to those found in Europe. The Founding Fathers designed and engineered this super structure to withstand the winds and storms of change and challenge.
I, too, occasionally fear for the state of things in our land, but I have an unshakeable faith in the design, the people, and the spirit of the country. This month we celebrate Memorial Day, a time to remember the men and women in our armed forces in the past and present, that died defending our freedoms as we give them a last measure of devotion.
The state of gratitude (mental attitude) is referenced in the modern bible in dozens of passages as shown below:
1. Psalm 100:4 - "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." This verse emphasizes the importance of approaching God with thanksgiving and expressing gratitude for His blessings.
2. Colossians 3:15 - "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." Here, believers are encouraged to let gratitude and thankfulness permeate their lives, allowing the peace of God to guide them.
3. Ephesians 5:20 - "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." This verse underscores the idea of giving thanks to God continually and in all circumstances, recognizing His sovereignty and provision.
Remember my brothers, gratitude is a positive emotion and a mindset of appreciation and thankfulness for the good things in life. It involves recognizing and acknowledging the kindness, generosity, and positive experiences we receive from others or from the world around us. Gratitude involves focusing on what we have rather than what we lack. It can shift our perspective in a more positive and contented fashion.
As Masons, practicing gratitude involves consciously and intentionally reflecting on and expressing appreciation for the people, experiences, or things that bring us joy, support, or happiness. It can be as simple as expressing thanks to someone who has helped us or simply recognizing the beauty of nature and being grateful for it. A good practice is to write down things you are grateful for on a regular basis.
Current research shows that cultivating gratitude can have numerous benefits for us. It can enhance positive emotions, improve relationships, reduce stress, and increase overall life satisfaction. It can shift our focus away from negativity and comparison while fostering a sense of contentment, mindfulness, and resilience.
Practicing gratitude doesn't mean ignoring or denying challenges or negative experiences in life. Instead, it will help us find positive aspects, even in difficult situations, and build a more positive and appreciative mindset.
Brothers, as we enter the summer months and reduce our Masonic activity, be mindful that if you are struggling with life’s challenges, DO NOT FIGHT ALONE, reach out to your brothers for an ear. We are your lodge and your brothers and there is no shame in needing help. As men we may think admitting have troubles is a weakness. It is not a weakness but foolish and harmful.
Do you think the Founding Fathers, in times of great peril avoided reaching out to their brothers for advice and or help?
Be well and prosper
WM Kent C. James