Through prayer, by prayer, and in prayer we learn the bottomless depths of His love for us. If you find yourself distressed that your best never feels good enough – you need gratefulness. If you are lukewarm (tepid) and indifferent to the things of God around you only a heart of gratitude toward God can open you up and break off the disease of apathy.
- Inward Poverty – It is often in our most sinful states that we come to see His love goes even deeper than we could have ever imagined. Since that is so, we must never be afraid to go to Him continually in all our weakness and in infirmities.
- Personal Distress – You’re in distress works to your extreme advantage when there’s nothing left to seek but mercy. Our own poverty of heart is our greatest blessing if we have become ungrateful. This is because there is never neutrality between gratefulness and ungratefulness. You are either grateful for all God’s blessings in a deep way or not.
- Constant Complaining – Constant griping about this thing or that thing or about this person or that person is a sign of ungratefulness.
- Heart Apatheia – Those who do not love, hate. In your spiritual life there is no such thing as indifference to love or hate. That is why apathy is so dangerous because it is HATE disguised as LOVE.
- Indifference – Indifference where the soul is neither hot or cold is a selfish ungratefulness disguised as intellectual considerations or judgments.
- Gratitude vs. Hypocrisy – they are complete opposites. You will never be a hypocrite if you are always grateful to God for His blessings and love. To be grateful is to see His love at work toward you.
- Shallow Praise – we must not just make a mental note of the things God has done for us and offer up shallow praise – we internally and externally remain grateful. The conflicted hypocrite – internally and externally. Gratitude brings congruency to the inner life.
- Loving Nothingness – To say to yourself, “I am nothing is not an act of humility at all it is only saying I wish I were not what I am.” To really know our nothingness we must also love it. And we cannot love it unless we see that it is good. And we cannot see that it is good unless we accept it.
- Praise without Poverty is impossible – Spiritual poverty is a beautiful thing if it is truly such. Yet it’s possible to be without in so many ways and yet try and try to do things that obligate others to us. In one’s poverty to continually use favors is to try for possession of people for your own purposes. Yet, when in humility we see that all our worth and value and blessing are truly gifts from God we enter into true praise. “He must increase, we must decrease.”
Sources: Thoughts in Solitude, Merton.