The writer was once asked when she most clearly realized or understood the fatherhood of God, and she answered, almost unconsciously, "When I am grateful!" The inquirer, however, did not seem satisfied with this answer, but appeared to think that most people's experience, including her own, was that they were able to get closer to God when in trouble. In times of joy and happiness they were satisfied with the temporary exhilaration thus afforded, and content to wait to inquire of God until a more troublesome season. The conversation then terminated, and it was not until much later that the writer had time to see yet more clearly the falsity of this point of view,—that we can only know God, good, in times of trouble, or, according to the argument, during the actual period of suffering. Suffering and harmony do not commingle, they are as opposite as darkness and light, therefore the experience of the one must mean the absence of the other. The consciousness and realization (the bringing into concrete existence) of the presence and omnipotence of God, infinite good, must beget in us a sense of harmony which nothing can disturb. In the measure we experience good, in that measure are we proving man's sonship with the Father, and are in the position to understand the meaning of gratitude.

Gratitude is the expression of filial homage, the seal of a complete understanding between Father and child, the realization of "I and my Father are one." Sorrow, suffering, sin, sickness,—all discord arises from the belief that man can be separated from God, ever-present good, and while laboring under this delusion it is impossible for the sufferer to understand in any appreciable degree what we mean in Christian Science by gratitude. Viewed in this light we can see how necessary it is for us to "wait patiently for divine Love to move upon the waters of mortal mind, and form the perfect concept" (Science and Health, p. 454), and not to demand from our patients a spurious gratitude which neither uplifts nor heals, for gratitude can only be expressed as we acquire the spiritual sense which is manifested in "a conscious, constant capacity to understand God" (Science and Health, p. 209).

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July 27, 1912

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