Today’s first reading focuses not only on generosity, but also the attitude we should bring to the experience of giving. St. Paul points out that “God loves a cheerful giver.” I find the most cheerful and generous people are often the ones most rooted in gratitude. When we start from a place of recognizing that all we have is gift, our generosity comes from a place of freedom and joy.

My best friend’s mom is one of the most generous people I have ever known. She spends hours each week preparing crafts and activities for the residents of a local nursing home, sending e-cards or holiday packages to loved ones, and welcoming anyone who shows up at her home with hugs, a huge smile, and endless amounts of food. Repeatedly, I’m amazed by both her generosity and the joy she exudes–the “what” and the “how” of giving. Mama Heather gives so freely because she is rooted in God’s gratuitous love and takes time to honor that.

Our world would look different if we each took time to be grateful and cherish all that we have as gift. How can a moment of gratitude today help you be more cheerful and generous to your loved ones and the wider community around you?

—Lauren Schwer is the Associate Director of Campus Ministry at Loyola University Chicago.