2. Man Owes God Gratitude.
Gratitude is the obligation of giving thanks to a benefactor. God is the great benefactor of mankind. He called us into existence when He was infinitely happy, and had no need of us. He made us to His own image and likeness, though we cannot thank Him adequately for the existence of a stone in the field or of a plant by the wayside. God has further put us under obligation by destining us for the joys of heaven, and by supplying us with super- abundant means of earning the "reward exceeding great.'' Finally, when sin came into the world, God put mankind under still greater obligation by extending to us the benefits of His mercy to that extent that He actually condemned His own Son to pay the penalty of our sins. Our divine Savior earned our lasting gratitude by freely laying down His life for our salvation, by instituting a divine Church and seven sacraments for our sake, and by sending the Holy Ghost to guide us on the sure way to heaven.
In addition to these varied blessings to all mankind God put every one of us under additional obligation to Him by giving us life, health, talents, and opportunities, by giving us the priceless treasure of the true faith, and by continually giving us evidence of His goodness, love, and mercy. He is patient when we are wayward, prompt to help when we invoke His aid, generous in His grace, and paternal in His solicitude. If we appreciate His favors and do His holy will, He extends the special protection of His providence to us, predestines us to glory, and conducts us to eternal happiness.