Gratitude is a divine gift that should be cultivated, President Thomas S. Monson admonished church members at the 180th Semiannual General Conference.

We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we refuse to remain in the realm of negative thought and cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude.

“If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues. Someone has said that gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others,” he said.

The 10-minute video below covers the highlights of President Monson’s address.

http://www.youtube.com/v/fUXItgFEkzU?fs=1&hl=en_US&rel=0&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6

Dr. Elia Gourgouris is one of many writers who have reflected thoughtfully upon President Monson’s talk.  An expert in human relationships, Gourgouris wrote of three concepts described by the prophet which he had not previously considered in the area of gratitude:

1. To give thanks first and then the miracle will follow. Typically, we give thanks after something good happens in our lives. To put this new concept in practice will require a paradigm shift, but I’m willing to try it; if President Monson said it, that’s good enough for me! But how does it really work? Do we express gratitude for something that has not taken place first, or is the principle more to live with a thankful heart regardless of our circumstances? It must be the latter, where daily expression of gratitude changes us from the inside, which is a miracle by itself!

2. To live with gratitude ever in our hearts is to touch heaven. My ears really perked up when I heard our prophet say that. To be able to touch a little bit of heaven is this turbulent and often difficult mortal existence, would simply be amazing. I suppose daily expressions of gratitude even when things are not going according to our plan, might be a good place to start. I’ve been thinking lately that maybe things are going according to the plan. Not mine necessarily, but Heavenly Father’s. Maybe trusting him a little more will alleviate a lot of the stress we face in life.

3. All other virtues come from gratitude. This may take a while for me to understand. I suppose if we don’t see the hand of God in our lives on a daily basis, it would not be too long before we started to doubt. What follows doubt is fear, hopelessness and discouragement. How much of our lives do we spend in these mental and spiritual states? On the other hand, once gratitude becomes entrenched in our mind, heart and soul, the possibilities of a great life are endless. Happiness comes from a grateful heart; we have so much to be thankful for, but we must take the time each day to quietly ponder them.

Read this worthwhile article in its entirety in Dr. Elia’s column at the Mormon Times.