The ungrateful are always sad

6 September 2022

‘Elder, why is it that a lot of people feel stress and worry even though they’ve got everything?’.

‘When you see people who have a lot of stress, worry and sadness, even though they lack nothing, you should know that they lack God. If people have everything- material goods and health- and, instead of thanking God complain and make absurd demands, they’re going to hell in a handcart*. When people are grateful, they’re satisfied with everything. They think about what God gives them every day and rejoice over everything. The ungrateful are never satisfied, are always complaining and are forever tormented by something. If, for example they don’t appreciate the sunshine and then the north wind comes and freezes them…? They don’t want the sunshine; they prefer the shivering brought on by the north wind’.

‘What do you mean by that, Elder?’.

‘That it becomes a habit, because complaining begets more complaints and whining begets more whines. Those who sow dissatisfaction will reap dissatisfaction and will store up anxiety. Whereas those who sow praise for God receive divine grace and eternal blessing. No matter how many blessings God gives them, grumblers don’t recognize them. This is why God’s grace is withdrawn and they’re attacked by temptation, pursued by temptation, and everything’s a setback for them. But those who are grateful are pursued by God with his blessings.

Ingratitude’s a great sin, which the Lord himself remonstrated against when he spoke to the leper who’d returned to thank him: ‘Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine?’. Christ wanted gratitude from all ten lepers- not for himself but for the lepers themselves, because gratitude would benefit them’.

* Saint Païsios didn’t mince his words, sometimes to the consternation of the more sanctimonious Christians. In this case, a literal translation would be ‘they’re going to hell with their shoes on’.