Monasteries of the Heart

Monks in Our Midst: David Steindl-Rast on gratitude

The interdependence of gratefulness is truly mutual. The receiver of the gift depends on the giver. Obviously so. But the circle of gratefulness is incomplete until the giver of the gift becomes the receiver: a receiver of thanks. When we give thanks, we give something greater than the gift we received, whatever it was.

The greatest gift one can give is thanksgiving. In giving gifts, we give what we can spare, but in giving thanks, we give ourselves. One who says “Thank you” to another really says, “We belong together.” Giver and thanks-giver belong together. The bond that unites them frees them from alienation.

Does our society suffer from so much alienation because we fail to cultivate gratefulness?

David Steindl-Rast is a Benedictine monk of the community of Mount Saviour Monastery in Elmira, NY, and an accomplished author and international lecturer, who presently serves a worldwide Network for Grateful Living, through, an interactive website. Learn more at

Create for yourself a “circle of gratefulness” – it can be a section in your journal or a corner of your home or a page on your computer where you collect evidence of the blessings in your life. “Visit” that circle at least once a day and praise God by giving thanks.

And for those of you who celebrate the feast, Happy Thanksgiving ...

To view or make comments you must be logged in to Monasteries of the Heart. If you are not yet a member, you can create a free membership account at now. A real person authenticates each new member account to avoid spam accounts so you will not have immediate access. As soon as your account is verified you will receive an email with further instructions.

Monks in Our Midst: writings by monks from the 3rd to the 21st centuries.