Picture a small, drifting group of men, ostracized by society, brought together by their common ailment: leprosy. These men, ten of them, are about to undergo a singular experience. They will find themselves in the presence of an individual who doesn't react with the expected loathing and spurning. Instead he is radiating deeply compassionate good will toward them, actually loving them. The love is so pure, so spiritual, that it totally frees them from their affliction--heals them. Yet if the healing is incredible, the subsequent event may seem even more so: nine of the cured simply go their way; only one bothers to praise God and to give thanks to the one who has cured him.
The healer, of course, was Christ Jesus, and this episode, recorded in the seventeenth chapter of Luke, has a brevity and surface simplicity that belie the depths of its Chistian message. In this incident the ungrateful nature of the carnal or mortal mind is exposed. The thankful man had greater spiritual receptivity to the healing Christ than his fellows. Everyone has this spiritual sense, but it needs to be recognized and cultivated.
While a sufferer may offer little resistance to the healing of physical ills through the touch of divine Love, God, the healing of moral ills that often underlie sickness may meet with greater opposition. Ingratitude, selfishness, hate, constitute the recalcitrant, cold bedrock of mortal mind and must be healed. This so-called mind, however, is never our real Mind, for if God is infinite, He must be--and is--the only Mind, and, as the Bible teaches, man is His image. Therefore ingratitude cannot hold us in thrall forever, because God is omnipotent.
Ingratitude and other negative elements of mortal thought leave us as we put on the mind of Christ, identifying ourselves as offspring of divine Love. Gratitude then becomes natural and deeply satisfying. Even if we've not been recently healed of some disease, as were the lepers, we can still be grateful to God. Since the Father is infinite good, any evidence of good in our lives has its source in Him. But most important is our gratitude for divine Life, Truth, and Love for the eternal Principle whose spiritual reflection we really are.
Writing of Jesus, Mary Baker Eddy observes: "His healing-power evoked denial, ingratitude, and betrayal, arising from sensuality. Of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed, but one returned to give God thanks,--that is, to acknowledge the divine Principle which had healed him." And in Psalms we read: "O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy."
Perhaps we are now hoping for healing of some difficulty. Or it may be that we have lately experienced a healing through prayer. Have we "returned to give God thanks" and to praise Him? Regenerated lives, characterized by humility, purity, speak most eloquently.
The ungrateful nine were not yet open to their deeper need of moral healing. Are we? As we love the healing Christ, the power of Deity that Jesus expressed so fully, we become ever more grateful for past healings, more trustful in the face of present distresses, more obedient to right, as God works out His good purpose in us and in others. Turning wholeheartedly to God will bring increasingly deeper healings on the path to an understanding of our innate spiritual perfection. And gratitude lights the way. Remembering the practice of Jesus, we can offer thanks before the material evidence of healing has even appeared.
Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 94. Psalms 107:1,2. DAILY BIBLE VERSE It is a good thin to give thanks unto the Lord. Psalms 92:1