Gratitude that moves God’s Heart

Surely by now we are all pretty familiar with the story of the healing of the ten lepers found in chapter seventeen of Luke's Gospel. A quick and superficial read of this story no doubt almost instinctively arouses in us a certain indignation. How could it be that of the ten men whom the Lord healed, only one returned to thank Him? What self-centered, ill-mannered, and ungrateful people! 

Well, obviously it would not do us any good to stop our reflection at this point, in spite of the feeling of satisfaction that we would perhaps experience for having come to the Lord's "defense" by condemning such a reprehensible injustice. Rather, we should ask, "Lord, what do You want to teach me through this?"

The attitude of these sick men reflects very well our own attitude on many occasions. The Gospel gives us a very important detail when it tells us that the lepers stood afar off, begging the Lord to heal them. Of course, as lepers, they were banished from the community and the law did not allow them to approach healthy people. However, this detail contains a much deeper reality. The first question is: How often do I, too, approach the Lord from afar? I do not dare to approach Him. I merely ask Him for what I think I need while maintaining a certain "safe distance." And sometimes I not only ask, but I demand that the Lord grant me this or that, thinking that I know how to judge what is best for me. What keeps me far from the Lord? What separates me from Him? In the first place, my "spiritual leprosy," that is, my sins. It can also be my fears, my lack of confidence, my desire for independence... the list goes on.

The Lord wants to and can heal us of all this. The Lord tells the ten lepers to go and present themselves to the priests. This is because the priests were the ones who had the authority to declare that a person was officially "cured" of leprosy and could rejoin the community. All ten make the first act of faith: even though they are still sick, they set out on their journey. On the way, they are cleansed. Unfortunately, as we have already said, when they realize that they have been cured, only one goes back to thank God. The important point is this: the Gospel tells us that this man "fell down at Jesus' feet, with his face to the ground, giving him thanks." Of the ten, he is the only one who could approach the Lord. He is the only one who knows how to recognize—going beyond just the gifts—God from Whom come all the benefits we receive. His deep gratitude was a response of love to God’s love that had gone out to seek him. And it was this grateful love that moved and "conquered" the Heart of Jesus, who, upon seeing him, exclaimed, "Your faith has saved you." In fact, although all ten received physical healing, he alone received the supreme gift of salvation.

 God is not indifferent to our response. He does not seek to "please" us, but seeks each one of us personally. That is why, when He saw that only one of the lepers had returned, He asked sadly, "Where are the other nine?" How often do we, too, dwell on God's gifts instead of turning to Him from Whom every gift comes! Only by being grateful can we really draw closer to the Heart of Jesus, and thus come to have a deep relationship with Him. Gratitude is the key that unlocks the treasures of His grace. 

By exercising ourselves in this virtue, little by little the Lord will also make us understand that we have to thank Him not only when things seem to be going well, but also in the midst of difficulties, when He asks us to carry the cross with Him. For, as St. Paul says: "We know that everything works together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose" (Rom 8:28). And everything is everything.


Hna.MrmyCe

Hello! I am Sister Mariam Samino and I have been a Servant Sister of the Home of the Mother since 2011. I am the oldest of six siblings. My parents have always educated us in the faith, although ever since I was very young I preferred the world and didn't like to pray. As a teenager, I rebelled against God because it seemed to me that for Him everything I wanted to do was wrong: I just wanted to be like everyone else, so I chose to live my life without Him. When I was 18, I had a personal encounter with Jesus in which I experienced His mercy and that He had been waiting for me. I cannot cease to thank Him for everything He has done in my life, and I hope that my union with Him will continue to grow and intensify every day.

I am Sister Cecilia Boccardo. When I was little, I had a great sensitivity to the things of God, but as the years went by, I came to believe that God was actually very far from me, until I experienced His personal love for me when I was 14 years old. This marked me so deeply that from then on I could never doubt Him or His love. This thirst for God grew in me until I understood that He was calling me to respond to His love with a total gift of self. Even so, I continued living a "double life" until I met the Home of the Mother at the University, and I understood that I had found my family, my way to Heaven. I entered as a Servant Sister in 2008, and I can only thank the Lord and Our Blessed Mother for having chosen me.