Monday, November 21, 2016

President James E. Faust on having a grateful heart

President James E. Faust (1920-2007) was called as a Seventy in 1976, then as a member of the Quorum of Twelve in 1978. He served as a counselor to President Hinckley from 1995 until his death in 2007 at age 87.
"It seems as though there is a tug-of-war between opposing character traits that leaves no voids in our souls. As gratitude is absent or disappears, rebellion often enters and fills the vacuum. I do not speak of rebellion against civil oppression. I refer to rebellion against moral cleanliness, beauty, decency, honesty, reverence, and respect for parental authority.
"A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being....
"As with all commandments, gratitude is a description of a successful mode of living. The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us. President J. Reuben Clark said, 'Hold fast to the blessings which God has provided for you. Yours is not the task to gain them, they are here; yours is the part of cherishing them.' (Church News, 14 June 1969, p. 2.) ... I hope that we may cultivate grateful hearts so that we may cherish the multitude of blessings that God has so graciously bestowed."
- James E. Faust, "Gratitude As a Saving Principle," Ensign, May 1990, p. 85
Click here to read or listen to the full talk

I liked President Faust's description of the "tug-of-war" that exists in our souls. When we allow gratitude to slip away, the contrasting characteristic on the other end of the rope takes its place: which President Faust identifies as "rebellion against moral cleanliness, beauty, decency, honesty, reverence, and respect for parental authority." But when we allow gratitude to dominate, the results are wonderful:

So we cling to gratitude as "a successful mode of living." As we learn to live with more sincere expressions of thanks, we become more aware of the many blessings that are ours, which we should truly cherish.

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