Gratitude and Thanksgiving: An Anthology

SCRIPTURE

Reference: Gratitude and Thanksgiving – by The Divine Armory – A Scriptural Catechism of the Catholic Faith. 

Old Testament:

Rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength ~ Nehemiah 8

You will say in that day: I will give thanks to you, O Lord, for though you were angry with me, your anger turned away, and you comforted me.- Is 12:1

And now, our God, we give thanks to you and praise your glorious name. – 1 Ch 29:13

I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.2 I will be glad and exult in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.– Ps 9:1–2

Bless the Lord, O my soul,and do not forget all his benefits— 3 who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, 4 who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, 5 who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.– Ps 103:2–5

I thank You for the wonder of my being, for the wonder of all Your creation ~ Ps 138

[G]ive thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures for ever” (Ps. 136:1)

Effects of ingratitude: for the hope of an ungrateful person will melt like wintry frost, and flow away like waste water.– Wis 16:29

 New Testament

“For to him who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away” – Matthew 13:12.

But Jesus refused, and said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and what mercy he has shown you.”– Mk 5:19

11 On the way to Jerusalem Jesus was going through the region between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As he entered a village, ten lepers approached him. Keeping their distance, 13 they called out, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When he saw them, he said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were made clean. 15 Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice. 16 He prostrated himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten made clean? But the other nine, where are they? 18 Was none of them found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?” 19 Then he said to him, “Get up and go on your way; your faith has made you well.” – Lk 17:11–19.

And Jesus looked upward and said, “Father, I thank you for having heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I have said this for the sake of the crowd standing here, so that they may believe that you sent me.” 43 When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with strips of cloth, and his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”– Jn 11:41–44

We welcome this in every way and everywhere with utmost gratitude. (Acts 24:3–4)

St. Paul speaks of giving thanks 34 times in his Epistles.

Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Php 4:6–7

For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, provided it is received with thanksgiving– 1 Tim 4:4

Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, 20 giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ– Eph 5:18–20

for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.- Romans 1:21–22

“With joy, [give] thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col 1:12–14).

“Learn, too, to be grateful. May all the wealth of Christ’s inspiration have its shrine among you; now you will have instruction and advice for one another, full of wisdom, now there will be psalms, and hymns, and spiritual music, as you sing with gratitude in your hearts to God. Whatever you are about, in word and action alike, invoke always the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, offering your thanks to God the Father through him.” – Colossians 3:16-17

Ingratitude is, according to Paul, one of the vices of men “in the last days” – 2 Tim 3:2

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” – 1 Thess 5:18.

My brothers, count it pure joy when you are involved in every sort of trial ~ James 1:2

JESUS SPEAKING TO VISIONARIES

“See, My daughter, whether thou canst find a father whose love for his only son has prompted him to take care of him or to show him such tender proofs of his love as I have given and will yet give thee of Mine; for from thy earliest years My love has borne kindly with thee, and has trained and formed thee after My own Heart, awaiting thee patiently without growing weary of all thy resistance.Know, therefore, that if ever thou shouldst forget the gratitude thou owest Me and shouldst not refer the glory of everything to Me, thou wouldst thereby, as regards thyself, dry up this inexhaustible source of all good.” – The Lord, to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque 

SAINTS

St. Faustina: An Attitude of Gratitude (Article click here)

Divine Mercy Devotion and the Importance of Gratitude (Article click here)

Question CVI Of Thankfulness Or Gratitude (In Six Articles.) by St. Thomas Aquinas

Question CVII Of Ingratitude (In Four Articles.) by St. Thomas Aquinas

“Would that I could exhaust myself in acts of thanksgiving and gratitude towards this Divine Heart, for the great favor He shows us, in deigning to accept our help to make Him known, loved and honored; He reserves infinite blessings for all those who devote themselves to this work.” – St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

 What most attracts God’s grace is gratitude, because if we thank him for a gift, he is touched and hastens to give us ten more, and if we thank him again with the same enthusiasm, what an incalculable multiplication of graces! I have experienced this: try it yourself and you will see! My gratitude for everything he gives me is limitless, and I prove it to him in a thousand ways. ~ St Therese of Lisieux

“The only happiness on this earth is to be determined always to find that what Jesus gives us is delightful” ~ St Therese of Lisieux (LT 257).

“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks” – Saint Ambrose

Jesus, I thank you for the little daily crosses, for opposition to my endeavours, for the hardships of life, for the misinterpretation of my intentions, for humiliations at the hands of others, for the harsh way in which we are treated, for false suspicions, for poor health and loss of strength, for self-denial, for dying to myself, for lack of recognition in everything, for the upsetting of all my plans ~ St. Faustina 343

O Jesus, eternal God, I thank You for Your countless graces and blessings. Let every beat of my heart be a new hymn of thanksgiving to You, O God. Let every drop of my blood circulate for You, Lord. My soul is one hymn in adoration of Your Mercy. I love You, God, for Yourself alone ~St. Faustina 1794

I want to live in the spirit of faith. I accept everything that comes my way as given me by the loving will of God, who sincerely desires my happiness. And so I will accept with submission and gratitude everything that God sends me. I will pay no attention to the voice of nature and to the promptings of self-love. Before each important action, I will stop to consider for a moment what relationship it has to eternal life and what may be the reason for undertaking it: Is it for the glory of God or for the good of my own soul or for the good of the souls of others? If my heart says yes, then I will not swerve from carrying out the given action, unmindful of either obstacles or sacrifices. I will not be frightened into abandoning my intention. It is enough for me to know that it is pleasing to God – St Faustina (1549, and 1262).

“It seems to me, in the light of the divine Goodness, though others may think differently, that ingratitude is one of the things most worthy of detestation before our Creator and Lord, and before all creatures capable of his divine and everlasting glory, out of all the evils and sins which can be imagined. For it is a failure to recognize the good things, the graces, and the gifts received. As such, it is the cause, beginning, and origin of all evils and sins. On the contrary, recognition and gratitude for the good things and gifts received is greatly loved and esteemed both in heaven and on earth.” ~ St. Ignatius of Loyola

“We will much sooner tire of receiving his gifts than he of giving them.” ~St. Ignatius of Loyola Letter to Ines Pascual

“To ask for interior knowledge of so much good received, so that, entirely filled with gratitude, I may be able in all to love and serve his Divine Majesty.” ~St. Ignatius of Loyola Spiritual Exercises, 233, Contemplation to Gain Love

“A man wanted to do evil, but first prayed as usual; and finding himself prevented by God, he was then extremely thankful.” – St. Mark the Ascetic

“But it was not so much the sorrows of his Passion which saddened and embittered the life of our Redeemer, as the sight of all the sins which men would commit after his death. These were the cruel executioners which made him live in continual agony, oppressed by such an overwhelming grief that pain alone would have been enough to make him die of pure sorrow. Father Lessius says that the sight alone of the ingratitude of mankind would have been sufficient to make Jesus Christ die of grief a thousand times.” – St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

“So great a love on the part of Mary deserves our gratitude, and that gratitude should be shown by at least meditating upon and pitying her in her sorrow. But she complained to Saint Bridget that very few did so, and that the greater part of the world lived in forgetfulness of them: ‘I look around at all who are on earth, to see if by chance there are any who pity me, and meditate upon my sorrows; and I find that there are very few. Therefore, my daughter, though I am forgotten by many, at least do thou not forget me; consider my anguish, and imitate, as far as thou canst, my grief.’” – St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori –> inspiration to practice 7 Sorrows Devotion

“People travel to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars; and they pass by themselves without wondering… Now, let us acknowledge the wonder of our physical incarnation— that we are here, in these particular bodies, at this particular time, in these particular circumstances. May we never take for granted the gift of our individuality” – Saint Augustine of Hippo

In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks.  St. Teresa of Avila

“The best way to show my gratitude to God is to accept everything, even my problems, with joy” – Mother Teresa

“[Regarding benefactors] Everything fades away, but not our gratitude. We shall always pray that God will abundantly bless those who have been so good to us.”- Don Bosco
“O my children, how great is Divine Providence! How generous God is to us! How much He loves us! Let us always be grateful and good! Let us love Him and never offend Him! In turn He will always provide for our needs.”- Don Bosco
“Yes, yes, my beloved sons, let us thank God. We have good reason to do so because, as you see, He has rescued us from a thousand mortal dangers. That our thanks may be more acceptable to Him, let us accompany them with a heartfelt, sincere promise to consecrate our lives to Him alone by loving Him with all our hearts, practicing our religion faithfully, observing the commandments and those of the Church, and avoiding mortal sin, which is infinitely worse than cholera or the plague.” – Don Bosco
“An educator should realize that these fine lads, or nearly all, are smart enough to sense the good done to them and innately open to sentiments of gratitude. With God’s help, we must strive to make them grasp the main tenets of our faith which, based entirely on love, reminds us of God’s infinite Love for mankind. We must seek to strike in their hearts a chord of gratitude which we owe Him in return for the benefits He so generously showers upon us. We must do our best to convince them through simple reasoning that gratitude to God means carrying out His Will and obeying His commandments, especially those which stress the observance of the duties of our state of life. Believe me, if our efforts succeed, we have accomplished the greater part of our educational task.” – Don Bosco
“Let us not be unfair to God and to Our Lady. If we succeed, and if our undertakings our flourishing, we owe it entirely to God and to our good Mother. We would be guilty of ingratitude if we attributed to ourselves the success of any enterprise. We would also make ourselves undeserving of God’s help.” – Don Bosco

St. Bernadette looked at her life in simple thanksgiving for everything. Her testament is an exceptional statement of gratitude. In her words:

  • For the poverty in which my mother and father lived, for the failure of the mill, all the hard times, for the awful sheep, for constant tiredness, thank you, my God!
  • For lips, which I was feeding too much, for the dirty noses of the children, for the guarded sheep, I thank you!
  • Thank you, my God, for the prosecutor and the police commissioner, for the policemen, and for the harsh words of Father Peyramale!
  • For the days in which you came, Mary, for the ones in which you did not come, I will never be able to thank you…only in Paradise.
  • For the slap in the face, for the ridicule, the insults, and for those who suspected me for wanting to gain something from it, thank you, my Lady.
  • For my spelling, which I never learned, for the memory that I never had, for my ignorance and for my stupidity, thank you.
  • For the fact that my mother died so far away, for the pain I felt when my father instead of hugging his little Bernadette called me, “Sister Marie-Bernard”, I thank you, Jesus.
  • I thank you for the heart you gave me, so delicate and sensitive, which you filled with bitterness.
  • For the fact that Mother Josephine proclaimed that I was good for nothing, thank you. For the sarcasm of the Mother Superior: her harsh voice, her injustices, her irony and for the bread of humiliation, thank you.
  • Thank you that I was the privileged one when it came to be reprimanded, so that my sisters said, “How lucky it is not to be Bernadette.”
  • Thank you for the fact that it is me, who was the Bernadette threatened with imprisonment because she had seen you, Holy Virgin; regarded by people as a rare animal; that Bernadette so wretched, that upon seeing her, it was said, “Is that it?”
  • For this miserable body which you gave me, for this burning and suffocating illness, for my decaying tissues, for my de-calcified bones, for my sweats, for my fever, for my dullness and for my acute pains, thank you, my God.
  • And for this soul which you have given me, for the desert of inner dryness, for your night and the lightening, for your silences and your thunders, for everything.
  • For you-when you were present and when you were not—thank you, Jesus.
  • From: (Saint Bernadette, Saint Bernadette Soubirous, Abbe Francois Trochu)

OTHERS:

Gratitude Excerpt from The Many Faces of Virtue by Dr. Demarco

Thanksgiving Excerpt from Living the Catechism of the Catholic Church by C.  Schönborn

Gratitude is a life choice, a decision we make. The more we cultivate gratitude & thanksgiving, the more open our hearts are to God’s action, so that we can receive life from God and be transformed and enlarged. Never let an opportunity slip by without saying thank you to God, even for the tiniest things. Nor should we forget either to say thank you to other people, because it encourages them and deepens our communion with them. ~ Jacques Philippe, The Way of Trust and Love

If you are wondering what penance to take up next Lent, I suggest this one: try to be joyful, happy, and to thank God all the time. Nothing will do you as much good as that. ~ Jacques Philippe, The Way of Trust and Love

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder” – G.K. Chesterton

We should thank God for beer and Burgundy by not drinking too much of them. – G.K. Chesterton

“He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.” – Epictetus

In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.  – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

“We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.” – Thornton Wilder

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

“The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.” – William James

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” – Albert Schweitzer

Can you see the holiness in those things you take for granted-a paved road or a washing machine? If you concentrate on finding what is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.  – Rabbi Harold Kushner

Take full account of the excellencies which you possess, and in gratitude remember how you would hanker after them, if you had them not. – Marcus Aurelius

God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?” ~William A. Ward

Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it. ~William A. Ward

Gratitude is the least of the virtues, but ingratitude is the worst of vices. ~Thomas Fuller

There is no greater difference between men than between grateful and ungrateful people. ~R.H. Blyth

Good men and bad men differ radically. Bad men never appreciate kindness shown them, but wise men appreciate and are grateful. Wise men try to express their appreciation and gratitude by some return of kindness, not only to their benefactor, but to everyone” ~Buddha

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all the others.” ~Marcus Tullius Cicero (Ancient Roman Lawyer, Writer, Scholar, Orator and Statesman, 106 BC-43 BC)

“When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. A person can almost be defined by his or her attitude toward gratitude.” — Elie Wiesel

You simply will not be the same person two months from now after consciously giving thanks each day for the abundance that exists in your life. And you will have set in motion an ancient spiritual law: the more you have and are grateful for, the more will be given you.” — Sarah Ban Breathnach

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