The Power of Gratitude

We often hear of debts of gratitude. The Bible is full of commands that men offer praises unto God and be thankful for benefits received. But Christian Science emphasizes yet another aspect of gratitude to which the student sooner or later joyfully awakes—the power of gratitude. The Christian Scientist understands that the command to "enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise," arises from no need of God for the praises of men, but rather from their great need to offer such praise. It is much less a command than an admonition of wisdom.

Gratitude is a purely spiritual impulse, and embodies an unparalleled liberating power. An affirmation of a desired good may be weighted with so much of the baggage of doubt and fear as seriously to impede the action of Truth in our consciousness. But gratitude recognizes good as already possessed, and rejoices in its glorious actuality. Gratitude has wings of joy that unfold and mount upward the moment it is set free in consciousness. With ease it soars above the mists of mortal sense into the clear sunlight of spiritual vision. Because of this power to lift one above the enemy of false belief, gratitude becomes a powerful weapon in spiritual warfare; for, as Mrs. Eddy has pointed out in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 400), "By lifting thought above error, or disease, and contending persistently for truth, you destroy error."

One does not have to wait to feel grateful before one begins to be grateful. The bird does not wait to feel the exhilaration of flight before he unfolds his wings to fly. We cannot expect the results of activity before the action. Many a spiritual victory has been won by deliberately turning away from the appearance of evil and toward the grateful recognition of some tangible good. No one is so blinded by error that he cannot perceive some good, some manifestation of God, to which he may anchor his thought. Even if such an effort seems to be cold and unfeeling, and devoid of spontaneity, it is nevertheless a turning toward the light; and, if persisted in, the inevitable result must be a still further recognition of good, until finally the consciousness is flooded, and the heart, wearied with its otherwise futile struggle with error, discovers that it has soared into joyous freedom on the wings of gratitude. The darkness has been dispelled, not by contending against the darkness, but by rising into light.

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A Psalm of Faith
April 16, 1927

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