Gratitude and Trust

In suggesting that I begin my retreat by looking back over the last year in gratitude, articulating and giving thanks for the gifts I received during that period, my retreat director observed that gratitude is based on trust in God.

I had not before consciously linked gratitude and trust and so spent some time yesterday morning reflecting on his observation.

My first thougth was that there is a link between gratitude and faith. Gratitude implies a recognition that I am not alone the originator of my gifts and blessings. Feeling gratitude means I recognize that there is one – God – who is the source of my gifts. But that is faith in the sense of belief in God, and while I think that link is a real one, I don’t think is the same as trust in the way I took my director to be speaking.

As I reflected further, my thought was that he was correct in saying that gratitude and trust are linked. Gratitude lays us bare before the one to whom we are grateful. I think that gratitude creates an openness that leaves us vulnerable before the other. Not vulnerable in the sense of “owing,” of having to payback (although gratitude I think creates a natural desire to give something in return). But being able to feel and express gratitude implies a trust – a willingness to open myself before God…to reveal my needs, to acknowledge my poverty.

As I reflected on this yesterday, the difference between faith and trust in the previous two paragraphs seemed clear to me. But as I write it, they seem, although somewhat different, to be closely related. Anyway, such were my thoughts on gratitude and trust.