A Week of Gratitude: Grateful for Less

Week of GratitudeEditor’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.

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Richard Cole
Richard Cole is the author of Catholic by Choice and two collections of poetry: The Glass Children and Success Stories. His poetry and prose have been published in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Sun, Hudson Review, and Image Journal: Good Letters. He works as a business writer in Austin, TX.


  1. Jesus said “Even while you ask for something to happen, believe that you have it already done to you, and so it will be done to you.“ How are we to practice this advice of the Lord ? This is certainly opposite of a less faith and will it distance us from God ?

  2. That’s wonderful. Thank you Richard. I find myself holding my tongue lately, saying less, and find myself more settled, less antagonistic and feeling more able to see Christ in people I’d rather not. And the conversations are not less without the comments I would have made. I’m sure this is supported by continuing contemplative prayer – although I’m not comfortable that I’m “doing it right”.

  3. I am grateful for starting my day with Loyola Press. I go from the Three Minute Retreat to Daily Inspiration , Saint of the Day and, now Ignatian Spirituality.
    I learned a great lesson today, with less of me and more of God. I am working in being humble, till now ,very little progress.


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