Choose a topic from Part 2B:

106. Gratitude

1. By the virtue of religion, we pay God due honor. By thevirtue of piety, we honor God, parents, kinsfolk, and country. Byobservance,we venerate persons of excellence. Bygratitude, we give thanks to benefactors. Gratitude is aspecial virtue, allied to justice and subordinate to it.

2. An innocent man owes God thanks for innocence; aforgiven sinner owes God thanks for pardon. Innocence in itself isgreater than forgiveness; yet to the man forgiven, forgiveness isthe greater gift of the two. For forgiveness meets that man'snecessity as nothing else could do. As a small but essential helpgiven to a poor man is more to the receiver than a great giftbestowed on a man of wealth, so forgiveness is a greater gift tothe penitent sinner than the gift of innocence to one who iswithout sin to forgive. Hence it seems that the forgiven sinnerowes to the bestower of this gift a greater gratitude than aninnocent person would owe.

3. We are to render thanks to every benefactor. We owethanks to God, and, under God, to many of our fellowmen. Gratitudeshould be expressed in words and deeds according tocircumstances and opportunities.

4. Gratitude makes instant acknowledgment of favors bygracious-ness in receiving them, and by the thankful disposition ofthe heart. Favors themselves are to be repaid at a time convenientto the benefactor.

5. In repaying a favor and in estimating our debt, we takeinto consideration the disposition of our benefactor even more thanthe gift he has bestowed. Seneca remarks (De Benef. i)that we are sometimes under greater obligation to one who confers asmall favor with a large heart, than to one who gives somethinggreater in a grudging spirit.

6. The return of a favor, the repayment, shouldexceed in gracious-ness the favor received. Gratitude isdue for what is freely given. An exact return of the favor receivedmeets the moral obligation of the beneficiary, but does not includethe gratitude he owes. Gratitude is something freely given over andabove the amount of repayment. Hence, gratitude exceeds the favorreceived.

"The supreme perfection of man in this life is to be so united to God that all his soul with all its faculties and powers are so gathered into the Lord God that he becomes one spirit with him, and remembers nothing except God, is aware of and recognises nothing but God, but with all his desires unified by the joy of love, he rests contentedly in the enjoyment of his Maker alone."
St Albert the Great

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"Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next."
St Alphonsus de Liguori

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"To think of oneself as nothing, and always to think well and highly of others is the best and most perfect wisdom. Wherefore, if you see another sin openly or commit a serious crime, do not consider yourself better, for you do not know how long you can remain in good estate. All men are frail, but you must admit that none is more frail than yourself. "
Thomas á Kempis

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