A Litany of Gifts

by Jim Manney

Thanksgiving squashI love Thanksgiving.  It’s less hectic than Christmas, and it’s mainly about enjoying family and friends (food too, of course).  A few years ago, the late John Kavanaugh, SJ, proposed an idea for extending the spirit of Thanksgiving through December and the new year by making a litany of gifts:

A simple way to do this is to use an 8-inch by 11-inch lined piece of paper. Draw a vertical line down the middle. Each horizontal line counts for a day, and each of the two columns will hold objects of gratitude. Make one column a list of persons, now living or in history, for whom you are grateful—one person or group of persons per line. Make the other column a list of things, places and events for which you give thanks. Each day write one entry in each column. By the end of one month you will have a litany of gifts, a catalogue of the ways God has come into your life. Then, with the mother of Jesus, you can ponder these things in your heart. This is an exercise in appreciation, being present to what is. In this anointing of the present, we will find ourselves entering God’s presence to our lives.

A splendid idea.  Let’s do it.

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Jim Manney

Senior Editor at Loyola Press
Jim Manney is a popular writer on Ignatian topics (God Finds Us, A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer) as well as the editor of many books on Ignatian spirituality, including What Is Ignatian Spirituality? He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

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November 21, 2012

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