There is nothing in this world uglier…

… than ingratitude, nothing more insulting or soul-destroying. What can be uglier than when a man suppresses and conceals a good work done to him? And what is uglier than when a man returns mercilessness for mercy, faithlessness for faithfulness, dishonor for honor and mockery for good? Such ingratitude draws a black cloud between the ungrateful on the one hand and the most pure Eye from heaven – that is light without the admixture of darkness, and goodness without the admixture of evil – on the other.

…. In this world, gratitude receives its true, divine radiance, and ingratitude its destructive ugliness, only in man – only in the human race. No single other living creature in the world is capable of such gratitude or ingratitude as man. The most grateful man is the closest to perfection. His gratitude to all God’s creatures around him makes him the finest citizen of this star-studded universe. Gratitude towards men makes him the first citizen of human society; gratitude towards the Creator of the universe and towards men makes him a worthy citizen of the Kingdom of God.

In order to save the human race from the humiliation of ingratitude, the Lord Jesus frequently raised public thanksgiving and praise to God. The apostles did the same thing, constantly “praising God”, and blessing Him, not only for His goodness to them personally but also towards others. “I cease not to give thanks for you”, writes the Apostle Paul to the faithful in Ephesus, teaching them at the same time to the thankful “for all things… in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”. In the same way, the Church of God, following the apostles’ example, constantly raises thanks and praise to the living God, and constantly reminds the faithful never to forget, and never to cease praising God for all that He sends them. There is never a divine service that the Church begins without the words: “Blessed is our God…” or “Blessed is the Kingdom…”, nor one that does not end with “Glory to Thee, O Christ our God and our Hope, glory to Thee!” The church does this so that unceasing thoughts, hymns and prayers of thanksgiving to God should be deeply imprinted on the souls of the faithful, so that each should be able to say of himself, with the Psalmist: “His praise shall ever be in my mouth.”

~St. Nikolai of Zica

hat tip: Sunday Bulletin of Holy Theophany Orthodox Church

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