‘Want to be Happy? Be Grateful’

By Lisa Bright, 12 May 2020
Br David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, during his TEDGlobal Talk in June 2013. Image: TED.


Br David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk, offers insights into gratefulness in his 2013 TED Talk entitled, “Want to be Happy? Be Grateful.” Br David’s talk was the topic for a recent Saturday Session, an initiative of the Diocese of Parramatta’s Pastoral Planning Office.

Br David invites listeners to consider that happiness springs from gratefulness.

You can watch Br David’s talk here:


What is one thing that you are grateful for today?

One of the questions raised in a small group discussion in the Saturday Session was ‘How do we take the time to really stop and recognise all that we are grateful for? What is a good way to do that?’ Br David offered a simple method of “Stop, Look, Go” to harness gratefulness. We Stop to appreciate moments in our lives, and those moments offer us opportunities. In stopping, we hopefully recognise those moments and opportunities. And then we Look at those moments. We open all our senses to what is in front of us and look at opportunities to pass on the gratefulness and assistance to others. We then Go and do. We become different. We make a difference.

How can you take time this week to stop, look and appreciate the ‘moments and opportunities’ of each day?

Participants shared other methods to recognise all that we are grateful can be engaging in the Ignatian practice of ‘the Examen’ – a prayer of discernment to reflect on the day’s events. The practice of reflecting on the daily Gospel in light of the day’s situations can be another way to stop and be mindful to moments and opportunities. In recognising how difficult it can be to find time to stop and reflect, despite the method used, many participants identified that it was essential in our lives. Br David’s talk reminded us of the need for this discipline.

A Prayer of Blessing and Gratitude

How do we express our gratitude to God? Br David invites everybody to first express delight in a blessing received, followed with a resolution to pass it on. The pattern is, “Source of all Blessings. You bless us with … May I…” The following prayer was composed by me based on the pattern of blessing developed by Br David.

Source of all Blessings

You bless us with the creative minds who developed video conferencing software. This software has enabled so many, from many different places to keep connected in a time where we are asked to isolate. This software has introduced us to people whose paths may not have ever crossed in our lifetime. It has given us a new avenue to create community and have deep and thoughtful conversations. It has allowed friends to see each other and hopefully not feel the pangs of isolation so strongly. It has brought our world closer together.

May we continue to reach out to people in isolation. May we continue to be creative in our love as we share our thoughts, our stories and our faith so that we can give and receive from others – and invite others to be part of this sharing. May we grow in ourselves through rich dialogue and continue to make a difference in our world.


Saturday Sessions is an initiative by the Diocese of Parramatta’s Pastoral Planning Office. It offers online conversation and group sharing for anyone who has a desire to grow and share faith.

People are invited to come together to share thoughts in response to a video or audio piece that they have been given to watch or listen to prior to the conversation.

A different speaker and topic is offered each week and offers a perspective on life and faith. Participants are encouraged to take this initiative into faith communities as another way to be creative in love and respond to such a time as this. Contact Lisa at lisa.bright@parracatholic.org for information.

The Daily Gospels are available on the Diocese of Parramatta’s Facebook and Instagram accounts. They are available at 6am each morning.

Lisa Bright is the Project Officer for the Pastoral Planning Office for the Diocese of Parramatta.


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