An Examination of Blessings

In today’s gospel, Luke tells the story of Jesus healing ten lepers. All the lepers walk away, and only one returns to thank Him. Jesus says to him, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”

Imagine being given such a gift and not thanking God for it!

We’re sometimes like the other nine lepers, aren’t we? God has given us so many gifts that we can’t even count them. Our gifts come in varying sizes. Some are tiny, some are huge, and some are in between. Yet we often get so bogged down in our daily lives that we go off and do things and forget to “return” to thank God for all He has given us. 

As we approach Thanksgiving and Advent, let us try something new. Just as we do an examination of conscience before confession, let us do a daily examination of blessings. Maybe we do this every morning, during an afternoon break, or before bed. Or better yet, maybe we keep a notepad nearby and jot down ideas throughout the day. But the point is to focus on the many, many blessings God has given us—and then to simply say “thank You, Lord.”

And as we focus on our blessings, let us also examine our difficulties and thank God for them too, for we can ask Him to help us use them for good. If we let them, our sufferings can turn into blessings. We can use them to grow closer to God. We can use them to grow spiritually or emotionally. We can offer up our sufferings for someone else to lessen his suffering. 

When we open ourselves up to goodness, a whole world of possibilities is available.

And when we do so, our attitude starts to change. We are no longer greedy and seeking “wants” but appreciative that God has taken care of our needs. We no longer see trials and tribulations as things that make us angry or bitter, but as ways to strengthen our relationship with God, as we work together—as a team—to create good.

My parents have a painting that hangs in their kitchen that features an older man praying over a dinner that consists of a simple loaf of bread and some soup. The caption reads: “In everything, give thanks.”

Let that be the principle we live by—today and every day.

Contact the author

Susan Ciancio has a BA in psychology and a BA in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, with an MA in liberal studies from Indiana University. For the past 17 years, she has worked as a professional editor and writer, editing both fiction and nonfiction books, magazine articles, blogs, educational lessons, professional materials and website content. Eleven of those years have been in the pro-life sector. Currently Susan freelances and writes weekly for HLI, edits for American Life League, and is the editor of Celebrate Life Magazine. She also serves as executive editor for the Culture of Life Studies Program-an educational nonprofit program for K-12 students.

Feature Image Credit: Il ragazzo,