Having the Highest Form of Thought . . .

You will see that here at St. Francis we often quote our favorite authors, clergy, and statesman.

Among those there are several who standout as some of the most brilliant minds in history, and among that group is G.K. Chesterton. In fact, George Bernard Shaw, who was brilliant in his own right, is quoted as saying that Chesterton, “was a man of colossal genius.”

Among other things, Chesterton was a writer, poet, dramatist, journalist, philosopher, orator, art critic, biographer and lay theologian. Chesterton referred to himself as an “orthodox” Christian, eventually converting to Catholicism from Anglicanism.

So, at this time of year, as we are reminded to look towards heaven with gratitude for all that God has done for us through His immense sacrifice, it is befitting to consider Chesterton’s words on the issue of thankfulness or gratitude.

On one occasion Chesterton commented, “ You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”

In other words, Chesterton recognized that being thankful for our food is a good thing, but it is hardly enough. We should be thankful for everything, because without God’s sovereign hand at work we would have nothing.

On another occasion Chesterton remarked, “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Why would he believe that “thanks” are the highest form of thought?

It is brilliant, yet simple. Chesterton understood that a genuine “thanks” is recognition of man’s true reason for existence. We exist due to God’s grace and we exist to serve God by treating others in love.