To whom Much has been Given and Forgiven

The perfume of gratitude and love which the Magdalen poured upon her Master's feet has diffused its fragrance through all after time, and is passing sweet to-day. Her adoration stands out in radiant relief against the dark ingratitude and faithlessness of that period which condemned and crucified the most God-like man the world has ever known. This was one of the most beautiful incidents in our Lord's career on earth, for it exemplified the purifying and redeeming influence of divine Love even to deepest depths of human misery and sin. Should not Jesus have received this woman's gift, when he knew, though the others did not, that this symbol of her love was in evidence of that "repentance which reforms the heart"? (Science and Health, p. 19). Had not God made pure even this one whom men had cast out as a sinner? The immaculate purity of Jesus' thought of her rebuked and destroyed the wrong, and the returning sense of her true womanhood unsealed the fountain of her joy and love. Who could refuse such priceless homage? What costlier, brighter gem could grace the life of the Master or of his disciples, than the gratitude and love of those redeemed from sin? Unregenerate would be the thought which turned away in forgetfulness, or remembered with indifference the one who had toiled and prayed through dark hours of agony for her deliverance. God who is infinite Love does not mark ingratitude or selfishness as the sign of sin's forgiveness, but rather the God-like qualities of love.

Christian Scientists are like Mary Magdalen in their learning to love much, because much has been forgiven them. If their overflow of gratitude, seeking outlets of expression, has been at times allowed unwise freedom, and has perhaps excited the criticism of adverse minds, the cause thereof has always been the deliverance from sin and suffering which has come to them and theirs through the teaching and practice of Christian Science. The sensuous world may not appreciate the animus of such devotion, being unable to understand the great spiritual good which preceded and gave it birth, but to Christian Scientists the reason of their gratitude is too palpable and satisfying to need apology or defence. Could others but know somewhat of the wondrous transformation wrought in them through Christian Science, and through the loving ministry and wise counsel of their Leader, they would cease to resent this bestowal of Christian love.

Those who have come out of great tribulation, out of the deepest and darkest depths of sin and woe,—the fiery torment of unresisted passions,—out of nameless agony and fear, and have reached through Christian Science the realization of harmony and peace; those who have seen the light rise out of their obscurity, whose deaf ears have been unstopped and whose lame feet have leaped as an hart: who have seen the shadows of sorrow and want and despair pass away as a mist,—these know best what Christian Science is and does, and the debt they owe to its Discoverer and Founder. To be enshrined in the hearts of such as these, whose lives have been made purer, happier, and holier because her life has been so freely given to God and mankind, is a higher throne and a kinglier crown than the world could ever give.

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The Lectures
January 16, 1904

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