One of the most important questions we can ask is, ‘What does God want of me?’ St Thérèse of Lisieux famously came to the understanding that her vocation was ‘to love’, even if that love was small or hidden or unrecognised.

‘I understand so well that it is only love that makes us acceptable to God, that this love is the only good I ambition,’ she wrote in her autobiography, Story of a Soul.

What is the beginning of this love, however? Thérèse writes:

Jesus does not demand great actions from us but simply surrender and gratitude. Has he not said … ‘OFFER TO GOD THE SACRIFICES OF PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING’ (cf. Psalm 49:14). See, then, all that Jesus lays claim to from us; He has no need of our works but only of our love … I feel it more than ever before, Jesus is parched, for He meets only the ungrateful and indifferent among His disciples in the world, and among His own disciples, alas, He finds few hearts who surrender to Him without reservations, who understand the real tenderness of His infinite Love.

Gratitude is the beginning of love, since it opens us to surrender. The world is a busy place, with so many voices and things clamouring for our attention. If we want to flourish in the spiritual life, if we want to grow in love, we can take to heart the words of St Thérèse.

Begin the day with a ‘sacrifice of thanksgiving’: begin the day with gratitude and surrender.