Gratitude: not an option, but a law

Being healed is certainly a reason for feeling grateful. But did you know that gratitude itself can bring healing?

A friend appeared at my front door one day last summer and handed me a sweet-smelling little flower. "Thank you," I smiled, as I reached out to take it from him. Later, after he'd gone, I realized how accustomed we are to thinking of gratitude as a feeling or expression that comes after something has been received or experienced. But this isn't all there is to gratitude, as I discovered some years ago when I learned a powerful lesson about the place of gratitude in Christian Science healing.

I'd been out of college a couple of years, and for various reasons that seemed good ones to me, I was feeling rather unhappy about my life. I was also discouraged about several small growths on the bottom of one of my feet, which had become so hard and painful that I had difficulty walking. I had been praying about this condition—and I remember thinking how grateful I was going to be when the healing came!

While I was waiting to have something to be grateful for, a friend came to town and called to ask how things were going. And I told him. I guess I really spread the complaining on thick, because the first thing he did when I slowed down was to remind me of a statement Mrs. Eddy makes in the Manual of The Mother Church: "Gratitude and love should abide in every heart each day of all the years." Man., Art. XVII, Sect. 2. And because, as he then pointed out, this statement is part of a church By-Law, I needed to understand that gratitude was a law to be obeyed, not a suggestion or an option.

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Remember Hagar?
October 2, 1989

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