“Were not the ten cleansed? but where are the nine?”—S. Luke xvii. 17.Picture: the grateful Samaritan at the feet of Jesus.
Resolve: to make special acts of thanksgiving daily.
- —Consider the virtue of gratitude.
- Our conscience tells us that there is a peculiar barbarity about ingratitude. Even the animals can feel and express gratitude: for a man not to feel it on occasion proves gross perversion of character. And, feeling it, not to express it in thanks is wilful damaging of character. Christ permitted himself to express surprise at the ingratitude of the nine.
- The main impediment to gratitude is pride of independence. A man does not like to feel under obligation: he desires to feel sufficient in himself. This is false: not independence but mutual love is the Christian’s aim. This applies in spiritual matters as well as material; we should be willing to accept help from all sources.
- Some feel gratitude, but cannot express it in thanks. This is to be deplored. When a man is true it should be natural to express what he feels. To act in such a manner as to give a false impression is hypocrisy. And so towards God as well as also towards man. If unaccustomed to express gratitude to him, we must train ourselves by continual acts of thanksgiving.
- —Consider that God delights to receive the expression of our gratitude.
- Gratitude to him is not so common as it should be. We take his gifts as a matter of course, and do not think of the giver. And often we fail in gratitude because we do not appreciate his favours, having little or no desire for spiritual gifts.
- Men say “He ought to have said ‘Thank you’; not that I want his thanks.” But God does want, because he loves us. It is always unkind not to reciprocate advances of friendship: love is not so common in the world that it can be despised. But how gross the ingratitude not to reciprocate the advances of God’s love to us, manifested in the bestowal of the gifts.
- He delights in our gratitude also because it is the evidence of the character which he desires to see in us. For the practice of this virtue produces in us cheerfulness, contentment, humility, thoughtfulness for others. It is always so—it is an aspect of God’s unity—that what he desires for himself in us is that which is also for our own good.
- —Peculiar reasons for cultivating the virtue of gratitude.
- To make reparation for the great ingratitude of the world, and for our own past ingratitude. It is one of the obligations of religion to make reparation to God for the insult of the world’s neglect of him.
- It develops a character of great importance to the priest and the religious—a lively sense of obligation to God, a freedom of speech with him, a sense of dependence on him and on one another. Gratitude is the foundation of charity. “We love because he first loved us.”
- While gratitude is a state of mind, thanksgiving is an act. By making acts of thanksgiving we cultivate the corresponding state of mind. The General Thanksgiving will give us all that we need by way of subjects—providence and grace. “That due sense of all thy mercies” (Gratitude) “and that we show forth thy praise . . . by giving up ourselves to thy Service” (Thanksgiving).