On a certain level, we are all searching for joy. After all, who does not want joy? Indeed, the Scriptures tell us that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) and Christ teaches us to keep the commandments so that we can abide in Him and receive His joy (St. John 15:11). The more joyful we are, the stronger we are in the Lord, and vice versa.

To grow in joy, we need to first cultivate gratitude. When we are grateful, we are thankful to the Lord for His blessings. His blessings are the true sources of joy. By cultivating gratitude for all the gifts of God in our life, we can be filled with joy and strength. Here are ten easy ways we can do just that:

Make a list of all your blessings on a daily basis and thank God for them.

Praise God for at least fifteen minutes a day, not focusing on prayers of petition, but just praising God for who He is.

Receive Jesus in the Eucharist very often and thank Him for this greatest gift.

Show appreciation and gratitude to others for the smallest acts of kindness. If a person opens a door for you, thank him or her. If they give you advice you did not seek, with honesty, say “thank you.” Be appreciative and grateful always.

Read the Bible and journal from your heart, praying about your relationship with God and how grateful you are that He came to save you.

Think of the all the things that could have gone wrong in your life and how God protected you and those you love in all those circumstances.

Think of all the wonderful things that have happened in your life and rejoice in God’s goodness.

Surrender yourself to the Lord through Mary knowing that the Lord will always do what is best for you.

Go to Reconciliation (Confession) often and rejoice in God’s mercy for you.

Be more aware of God’s gratuitous presence with you each moment.

If we learn to grow in gratitude, we will have more joy. Perhaps most importantly, we must always remind ourselves that life itself is a gift from God. It is not for us to decide how our lives will go, or when they will be changed by a deeper encounter with Christ in heaven, or even what crosses we will bear. Truly, everything we receive is a gift, and all we can control is our choice to enjoy Jesus’ presence every moment and glorify Him with all our heart, mind, and soul.

Let’s enjoy the gifts by celebrating the Giver. In so doing, our lives will bear witness to the glory of God who meets us in our weakness.