Just 5 Things

Abbot Meletios

This is the third of four posts about the one-day retreat I recently attended here in Phoenix with Abbot Meletios Webber from the Monastery of St. John. The retreat was titled “Being Present in the Presence.”

This one, on gratitude, and the next one, on prayer, were the most practical.


A lot of us have negative feelings a lot of the time. We carry around grumpy. If you want to feel sad you can think about something that happen to you. Thinking about a funeral, etc. Some times we get stuck thinking about how we have been wronged, etc. and we basically think our way into anger, frustration, and sadness. Gratitude is an attitude, a state of awareness, we can make happen. Gratitude will not allow itself to share a space with any other negative feeling. – Fr. Meletios

The very first thing in the morning Abbot Meletios has his monks write 5 things for which they are grateful. This must have a very positive effect on the community. I know it has a positive effect on family life.

Gratitude has good back up in the gospel. Giving thanks is the highest attributes. Let us give thanks unto the Lord. We are who we are when we are giving thanks. Eucharist means thank you. Gratitude puts us in touch with God. – Fr. Meletios

I have been practicing and recommending this practice to people in my church and I commend it to you. Write down 5 things for which you are grateful. It has a way of getting us in the right position of thanksgiving. Why not go around the table and ask, “What are you grateful for?”



Filed under Orthodox Christianity, Regarding the Present Moment

6 responses to “Just 5 Things

  1. christine

    this totally rocks. thank you!!

  2. Christina

    This is a wonderful idea, and something practical that families can talk about over dinner. Thank you!

  3. Fr. James Coles

    I am grateful for you… really.

  4. Laura

    Fr. James,

    I just happened to check your blog today. I haven’t in a couple weeks. Just this week in one of my psychology classes we were talking about positive psychology, and we looked at studies on the effects of gratitude. (Fr. Meletios may have mentioned this, but I’ll share it anyway.) Compared to people in one study who were told to simply write down five daily activities at the end of the day, people who were told to keep daily gratitude journals – writing five things they were grateful for or five good things that happened that day – experienced more positive emotions, slept better, exercised more, reported fewer health problems, were less anxious and less concerned with materialism, and were more satisfied with their lives, more likely to achieve their goals, more optimistic about the future, more productive, more generous, and more likely to be helpful and empathetic to others. Also, children whose parents assisted them in this practice early on were less likely to experience depression later in life. People often think that attitude precedes behavior when in fact it’s more often our behavior that determines our attitude. It’s such an Orthodox concept, and it’s true!

  5. i agree with christine…this rocks!!! i am lucky, at least 5 things i am grateful for come and see me each and every day:)

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