In human experience, gratitude is called forth as the result of kindness or generosity, bringing with it often a sense of obligation, a personal feeling of indebtedness. Because of this, it is likely to turn from gratitude to disappointment, even resentment, if the kindness or generosity is removed, or no longer measures up to what is anticipated. When men learn to be grateful for qualities expressed rather than for benefits received or hoped for, seeing them as the universal expression of the one Giver, the basis for appreciation and acknowledgment of all blessings will be established. Moreover, a fear of their capricious or unavoidable withdrawal will then be overcome. As long as the individual looks to persons as a means of good, as long as he seeks to influence or coerce others in obtaining or retaining favors, the source of permanent blessings is unknown.

In the French language it is notable that the word "gratitude" is identical with "recognition." With that in view we see that we are free to choose whether our recognition of good shall be merely personal or whether it shall be spiritual.

November 27, 1943

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