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Boston Catholic Journal - Critical Catholic Commentary in the Twilight of Reason
 

 

 

Strangers to Gratitude:
 

A Tale of Ten Lepers

 

Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” (Saint Luke 17:17-18)

 

We are familiar with the story. It can be summarized in a sentence: Jesus heals ten lepers and only one comes back to say, “Thank You!”

Deceptively simple, yes?

Very clearly, it is a story about ingratitude.

It is also, however, a story about obsession. We are so obsessed with the gift that we are forgetful of the Giver. We are overwhelmed with our good fortune and so utterly absorbed in it, obsessed with it, that we have forgotten not only the Giver — but our own genuine poverty apart from Him.

We do not see the Giver for the gift.

It is an odd permutation: the Giver is God. The gift is from God. And then the gift itself is deflected from God — becoming a good greater than God.

The problem is that the gift is, well ... a gift.

It is not ours.

It is His!

Our ingratitude is, sadly, quite common. What is uncommon is our obsession, our susceptibility to utter self-absorption — something that is both striking and revealing:

Our capacity for happiness apart from God is only revealed when we are given something — and our unhappiness apart from God when we are deprived of it.

And we are blind to both.

But take heart. Jesus also healed the blind ...


Geoffrey K. Mondello
Editor
Boston Catholic Journal

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Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum 
I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.
(Apocalypse 3.8)

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