Gratitude proves authenticity of our faith

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

THAT gospel episode about 10 lepers who were cured by Christ and yet only one came back to give thanks to him (cfr. Lk 17,11-19) gives us a precious lesson about the importance of always being thankful to God for whatever favor and blessing we receive from him.

Such attitude would prove that our faith in him, our relation with him, is authentic and working, and not something that we only profess but not practice and live. In that gospel episode, the conclusion made was that after the healed leper thanked Christ for the cure, Christ said: “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

It’s important that we are always thankful to God, and to others. By being so, we keep our relation with God alive. We will abidingly realize that God is always with us, and in fact, takes the initiative to guide us, to help us, and to shape and direct our life as he wants it to be.

God always takes the initiative in intervening in our life. In fact, he is all too eager to share what he has with us, since we are his image and likeness, sharers of his divine life and nature. Our role in this relationship is to be as actively receptive in corresponding to God’s continuous action in our lives.

Let’s remember that God created us even without any need for us on his part. It was done out of pure love. The immediate corollary of this truth of our faith is that God loves us first before we can love him in return. In fact, we can only learn to truly love when we realize that God loves us first, and that he is the very essence of love that was made human and available to us through Christ, “the way, the truth and the life.”

We should never miss this basic truth of our faith that it is God first of all who always takes the initiative to guide us. And insofar as he is concerned, everything has already been taken care of, in spite of our weaknesses, our failures and our sins.

In other words, God in Christ has already paid the price, the ransom. There is really nothing to worry about how our life would go in this world with all its challenges, difficulties, trials, etc. If we would just have the living faith to realize this truth about God’s relation with us, what a wonderful time we would have in this life!

All we have to do is to continually ask, “Lord, what is it that you are showing me now, that you are sharing with me now, that you are warning me now, etc.?” And then in our heart of hearts, in our conscience, for sure we are going to hear what he would be telling us at a given moment.

This is the true essence of a contemplative life that all of us is supposed to develop and to have. It is a life of constant relating of ourselves with him, engaging him in a constant conversation, asking, begging, yes, even complaining like a child when we find ourselves in difficulties, etc.

If we truly have this contemplative life, then we will always be thankful to God, knowing that he is taking care of everything in our life, even in those problems that we ourselves cannot anymore solve. We would have peace and joy and a deep sense of confidence despite the ups and downs in our life.