Editor’s note: This week we celebrate a pre-Thanksgiving Week of Gratitude, with Loyola Press authors sharing reflections on gratitude each day.
I’m grateful for less, however little of less I’ve achieved. After years of contemplative prayer, I can’t tell if I’ve made any “progress.” I notice, however, that I’m saying a bit less these days, especially when I’m tempted to impress someone with a witty remark, light teasing, or something else that might be seen as impressive. I hold my tongue and almost immediately I realize that my remark would have just complicated the situation, leading to more chatter and useless agitation that the world really doesn’t need. Less is better.
I’ve been reading Night of the Confessor by Tomas Halik. He writes about the virtues of a “little faith,” small and insignificant, almost like nothing. The opposite of a little faith, he says, is the overly casual or even aggressive accumulation of certainties, a form of triumphalism that can distance us from God. “My question is whether our faith, like our Lord, is not required to ‘suffer more, be crucified, and die’ before it can ‘rise from the dead.’’’
This understanding seems to be in line with contemplative prayer—an ongoing winnowing, reduction, and diminution. Less is more, says Scripture, so that’s my prayer and gratitude, a little faith with less of me and more of God.