Active Gratitude

The teachings of Christian Science shed a new light on the word "gratitude," and give to it an active meaning, to the end that this virtue may become a source of continual joyfulness, rather than a spasmodic appreciation for some special blessing. Gratitude, in Christian Science, is not merely appreciation for some service rendered or some specific reward; true gratitude is to be found rather in continual joyfulness in the realization of man's constant unity with God. Never does the real man cease to be God's image and likeness. Never should one cease to be grateful and joyful in the understanding of this truth. Viewed in this light, gratitude is to be not a passive emotion which may be stimulated into expression by some circumstance or by the action of another, but an active, vital state of thought, clearing the perception, destroying discouragement, increasing appreciation of spiritual realities.

The Scriptures are full of examples which show that gratitude should be a constant factor of thought, not to be measured by circumstance factor of at any set time or under specific conditions. Many instances show that gratitude was expressed before the blessing was yet manifest. In the Biblical days it was customary for lepers upon being cleansed to offer a sacrifice of gratitude to the priests. In healing the lepers, as it is recorded by Luke, Jesus said to them, "Go shew yourselves unto the priests," before the healing took place. It was while on their way to perform this mission that the men were healed.

The Apostle Paul voiced his gratitude to God for the realization of freedom from material bondage while he and Silas were still in prison, "their feet fast in the stocks." We are told that they sang praises at a time when every material sense indicated that they were in dire straits and calamitous circumstances. And that same night they were in dire the dungeon. Paul's expression of gratitude was caused by his rejection of sense-testimony, by his realization that spiritual selfhood is not bound by material fetters at any time, but is always free in spiritual existence. His gratitude was, it seems, greatest at the most apparently stressful time, because it was then that he had, manifestly, increasing joy in the realization of his perfect spiritual freedom.

September 8, 1928

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