From “Of Human Hearts” (1938). James Steward is a selfish son who accepts his mother’s aid for becoming a successful surgeon, without any real gratitude. President Lincoln, the closest thing to God in the American pantheon, calls the surgeon to Washington, chastises him for his selfishness and commands him to write to his Mother (Bondi) every week or face court-marshal. Here is her prayer at the return of her son whom she supposed dead:
We thank Thee, Father, for this and all Thy bounty.
Teach us to avoid the pitfalls of prejudice, pride and vanity.
Give us strength to aid the helpless, give our hearts unselfishness.
Teach us mercy, humility and charity.
Make us thoughtful of the meek, the sick, the unfortunate, the needy.
Make our humble lives a reflection of Thy grace.
These things we ask in Thy Name. Amen.