I often wonder what happened to the people in the Gospel whom Jesus cured of heir various ailments. What happened to the leper who returned to give thanks, or the nine who failed to return? What about the son of the widow of Naim, or the couple at the wedding feast of Cana? The Roman centurion, the daughter of Jarius, the woman caught in adultery, the Gerasene demoniacs, the blind men, the paralyzed man who was lowered from the roof, the deaf-mute, etc.
All those folks had their lives radically and completely changed by their healing. Were they forever grateful? Did they follow Jesus? Were they at first grateful and then ungrateful because of the discrepancy between their old life and the new? I mean, I imagine myself being cured of my deafness, and at first being excited, and then being upset at having to hear all the things I used to avoid by the flick of two switches!! For example, everyone com-plains at how loud the geese are at night; I just sit there with this smug smile cuz I don’t hear them!
Anyway, I have found that the older I get, the more grateful I become….and I’ve heard many older people say that also. Despite life’s sorrows and setbacks, despite aches and pains, the loneliness, the feeling taken for granted, older people have a deep reservoir of gratefulness because they are seeing how precious life is and how special are the small daily blessings God sends our way.
It affects their visage too. I can usually take one look at a person and tell whether he or she is a chronic complainer, or a person whose life is marked with gratitude to God and to others. Believe me, it shows!
And why shouldn’t it? The word grateful is derived from grace . One of the definitions of grace is “pleasing, agreeable, pleasing of form or movement, the release of loveliness.” Think of a ballet dancer, for example. I repeat something you may have heard me say before: I believe the wisest, most beautiful people in the world are those who have been through adversity and who have not allowed themselves to become embittered.
One piece of advice: if you want to go to a mirror and see if gratefulness shows itself in your visage, don’t do it first thing in the morning!
Laugh often, pray faithfully, love deeply!
Fr Herb, C.S.C.
Originally published by www.cscip.org on October 04, 2010.at