Isn’t it funny how it is… that some things that you read a long time ago can still have a profound impact upon you, years later? It was many years ago, now, that I was reading the spiritual classic known as the Philokalia, a book about prayer. The passage that most profoundly influenced me pointed out that there are three great sins of humankind.
They are not the sins that usually come to mind in our era—you know the ones to which I’m referring. The Philokalia said that the three greatest sins of humans are these: ignorance, indifference, and ingratitude.
Specifically, ignorance of the love of God shown to us in Jesus Christ our Lord, that God sent His only Son into the world to the end that all who believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Now, if we know of the love of God and therefore are not ignorant, the next of the besetting sins is indifference. That is to say that we wound the side of our Lord, crucifying Him afresh, by ignoring the message of salvation as though we couldn’t care less about the gift of eternal life that He has bestowed upon us. For if we hear the message of salvation– and choose to be indifferent to it– we are, in effect, spitting into the eyes of divine charity for us and for the human condition.
Flowing from the sense of the importance of the gift of God given so wondrously to us, how then could we have other than a deeply abiding sense of thankfulness for the love of God so greatly shown to us? How could it be that gratitude would not be the most deeply overwhelming part of our lives? And yet, how our sense of thankfulness is so easily and so greatly eroded and lost in the shuffle of life, becoming ingratitude.
Have you given time today to express your thanksgiving to God, for his love towards you and yours? Have you taken seriously the message of salvation, and has you heart overflowed with a sense of thanksgiving to Him for all he has done for you?
Of course, as it is the season for stewardship, we might do well to be reminded that our giving is a reflection of our thankfulness to God, and I pray that our thankfulness might be shown in what we give back to Him for the work of this, His parish Church.