Nov 23 • 5M

Gratefulness

George Herbert, 1639

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Anthony Esolen
Stop by on Wednesdays to listen to Tony read the poem of the week. Sometimes you have to hear it to believe it!
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What does the Lord want from us, in return for his gifts?

That’s not exactly the question you’d ask if you were a pagan Greek. You’d ask what the gods wanted from you, so that they would give you what you wanted in return. And if anything, the Greek gods were a sunny lot. They weren’t like the gods of the businessmen in Tyre and Sidon, who wanted human sacrifice. But they did want the right hymns, and the god Dionysus did get his special seat in the theater at the great festival in Athens, when the playwrights put on their shows.

God wants nothing from us, and everything — it all depends on how you look at it. He exacts the payment of gratitude: a grateful heart. But that’s nothing at all! Not a sheep or an ox, a field or a temple, not flesh or blood, or sacks of gold, but what anyone can pay in full in the bright glow of love. And yet since God gives us our very beings, true gratitude can’t be a smile and a nod, and then we go about our business as if God were a bellboy we have…

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