What Is Gratitude?

Gratitude is the confident acknowledgment of the presence of good. In human affairs expressions of thanks are often not forthcoming until after benefits have been received. Does this not imply some uncertainty or doubt that good will enter our experience? Such doubt could result only from a lack of understanding of God, the source of all good. If one understood what James must have perceived when he wrote (1:17): "Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning," and the Psalmist's declaration (84:11), "The Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly," he would trustingly wait on God for the fulfillment of every right desire.

No one who accepts the authority of the Scriptures will deny that the foregoing quotations, and many others like them, are statements of fact. They always have been true, and therefore are true today. Shall we not then, be grateful for them and gladly relinquish doubtful uncertainty?

True gratitude is a quality of thought, or state of consciousness, which transcends a mere "thank you" to a human benefactor or friend. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 3). "Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of thanks." For the purpose of illustrating this statement, gratitude may be compared to the dimensions of an iceberg. Most of us know that only about one ninth of an iceberg is visible above the water. The remainder, the very much larger part, is beneath the surface. In other words, what we see, is not all that there is.

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In the Pharisee's House
March 8, 1947

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