FieldFlowers

“The greatest benefits will not bind the ungrateful.”
Aesop’s Fables

The farmer, finding a frozen snake, pitied him and placed him in his bosom to thaw. The revived snake, unmoved by gratitude, inflicts a mortal wound.

Such ingratitude is especially repulsive. But what about the ingratitude that consists in simply not-being-grateful?

Gratitude should have prevented the snake from harming its benefactor. Yet it should also move me to act in certain positive ways—to act out gratitude.

If I am not actually, shall we say actively grateful, then am I not truly ungrateful? This is a bracing thought, especially in view of Aesop’s moral. Even the greatest benefits do not bind, do not move to action those who are ungrateful. This gives me pause: I should be concerned lest ingratitude render me impervious to the call of gifts received. Especially since evidence of my own ingratitude is real.

Flowers in my field.
Much more, my wife, the mother of my children.

When will my life, my every day, be truly bound, formed by what I have received? Gratuitously.

May we be set free, by being bound, by the greatest benefits.

Aesop (born circa 620 B.C.) was a Greek story teller. Little is known of his life, and no written works by him survive, though many ancient authors refer to his famous stories-with-a-point.

Originally posted at Bacon from Acorns

Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Local Culture
Previous articleCivic Engagement and the “Native Country”
Next articleTrust, Community Ties, and Letting Your Children Play
Avatar
John A. Cuddeback is a professor and chairman of the Philosophy Department at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, where he has taught since 1995. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from The Catholic University of America under the direction of F. Russell Hittinger. He has lectured on various topics including virtue, culture, natural law, friendship, and household. His book Friendship: The Art of Happiness was republished in 2010 as True Friendship: Where Virtue Becomes Happiness. His writings have appeared in Nova et Vetera, The Thomist, and The Review of Metaphysics, as well as in several volumes published by the American Maritain Association. Though raised in what he calls an ‘archetypical suburb,’ Columbia, Maryland, he and his wife Sofia consider themselves blessed to be raising their six children in the shadow of the Blue Ridge on the banks of the Shenandoah. At the material center of their homesteading projects are heritage breed pigs, which like the pigs of Eumaeus are fattened on acorns, yielding a bacon that too few people ever enjoy. His website dedicated to the philosophy of family and household is baconfromacorns.com.