Here are some selections on gratitude from our Vincentian heritage.
Abelly, one of Vincent’s early biographers wrote,
“He used to say that nothing was so efficacious in winning the heart of God as a spirit of gratitude for his gifts and blessings. In this spirit he had the custom of thanking God often for the gifts from his bounty to all sorts of creatures, going back to the beginning of the world. He also thanked God for the good works accomplished through the inspiration of his grace, and he urged others to do the same. Coming down to particulars, he often invited his confreres to thank God for the protection and graces given to the Church, and for the elements which made it up, especially the prelates, pastors, and other ecclesiastical workers engaged in its preservation and advancement. He was careful to thank God for the fruits produced by all well run companies and congregations”.
He was often heard to say, “We must give as much time to thanking God for his favors as we have used in asking him for them.” He complained vehemently of the extreme ingratitude of men towards God. He was referring to the lament of Jesus Christ reported in the Gospel on the occasion of his curing the ten lepers. He urged his confreres to practice this virtue of gratitude and thanksgiving, without which, he used to say, we make ourselves unworthy of receiving any favors from God or men.
Abelly, vol. 3, Ch. 17. His Justice and Gratitude
Louise de Marillac wrote,
“I rejoice with you, by thanking God for the graces His goodness has bestowed upon you, enabling you to continue to love His service by observing your Rules especially by the cordiality and support you show one another . . . You can be certain that God is with you.â”L.619 Louise de Marillac to Catherine Gesse, 4 May 1659, ibid., 639.
Elizabeth Ann Seton wrote,
“Every day of life more and more increases my gratitude to God for having made me what I am.” [June 1817]
One day, at San Jacopo, he took a piece of paper and wrote down, in the form of a prayer, an enumeration of the many ” little kindnesses ” he had received from God. ” We are not sufficiently grateful for God’s little benefits. We thank Him for having created and redeemed us, and
given us good parents, and a wife and beloved children”