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Something to think and pray about this week
Ignatius thought that a particular type of ignorance was at the root of sin. The deadliest sin, he said, is ingratitude. It is “the cause, beginning, and origin of all evils and sins.” If you asked a hundred people to name the sin that’s the origin of all evils, I’ll bet none of them would say ingratitude. They would say pride or disobedience or greed or anger. The idea that we sin because we’re not sufficiently aware of God’s goodness probably wouldn’t occur to too many people.
Gratitude meant something different in Ignatius’s time from what it does today. Gratitude to us means sending thank-you notes for Christmas presents or thanking neighbors when they give us a hand. For us, ingratitude is something like bad manners. Gratitude was a much more serious matter in Ignatius’s late-medieval society, which was organized around a set of mutual obligations among those in social and political hierarchies. Everyone needed to be aware of the contributions of everyone else. Gratitude was the glue that bound people together. But cultural differences are only part of the story. By emphasizing gratitude, Ignatius was saying something about the nature of God. God is the generous giver, showering us with blessings like the sun shining on the earth. If we truly understood this, we would return God’s love with love. We wouldn’t sin. Gratitude is a good word for this fundamental quality of our relationship with God. Ingratitude, our blindness to who God truly is, is thus the root of all sin.
From Jim Manney, God Finds Us, Loyola Press.