Quotations on Gratitude and Thanksgiving

This week, as we in the United States celebrate our national holiday called Thanksgiving, I went into my quotation file and pulled out some quotes to mark this beautiful day. I suggest you read them slowly and prayerfully.

1. Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but also the mother of all others. (Cicero)

2. No one can be grateful and unhappy. (Anthony de Mello, SJ)

3. When we practice counting our blessings, our blessings multiply. The very act of saying “thank you” opens the heart another notch in receptivity. (Julia Cameron)

4. When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree. (Vietnamese proverb)

5. If I bewail the times in which I live, I’m throwing God’s blessings back into God’s face. (St. John Henry Newman)

6. Were there no God, we would be in this glorious world with grateful hearts and no one to thank. (Christina Rossetti)

7. Joy is the simplest form of gratitude. (Karl Barth)

8. Gratitude is an engine of generosity. (Frank Cunningham)

9. The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see. (Mary Davis)

10. God gave you the gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “Thank you”? (Wm. A. Ward)

11. When I am grateful, I am neither rushing nor slouching through my day–I’m dancing. (Bro. David Steindl-Rast)

12. Dorothy Day wanted only two words on her gravestone: Deo gratias (Thank God).

13. The best way to pay for a lovely moment is to enjoy it. (Richard Bach)

14. Gratitude turns what we have into enough. (Anonymous)

15. Normal Day, let me be aware of the treasure you are. Let me learn from you, love you, bless you before you depart. (Mary Jean Iron)

16. Say “thank you” a hundred times today and you will discover you are a millionaire. (Edwards Hays)

17. Praise incessantly, hold high expectations, laugh, sing out loud, celebrate without ceasing the good luck of getting set down here on a lively earth. (Barbara Kingsolver)

18. If the only prayer you say in your whole life is “thank you,” that would suffice. (Meister Eckhart)

Did any of these quotes stand out for you today? If so, which one(s)? Why?

What does Thanksgiving Day mean to you personally?

Do you have any quotations on gratitude and thanksgiving that you would like to share with us?

I want to thank each one of you for reading my little blog, “Sunflower Seeds.” I never take your readership for granted. Today, in a special way, I thank God for every one of you! I also ask God’s blessings on you and your loved ones!

I opted for a traditional Thanksgiving song today, “Now Thank We All Our God,” with choir and full organ. The language might be a little “old fashioned” in spots, but the message still rings true.

Please share your thoughts with us! We all love hearing from you!

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  1. Thomas DeFreitas on November 25, 2019 at 4:24 am

    Sr Melannie and everyone, good morning!

    Quotations that stood out: Cardinal Newman (because I never thought of it that way!), Christina Rossetti (because atheism is, by my lights, a bleak and arid creed), William Ward (for the math!), Barbara Kingsolver (her joy is contagious!), and, of course, Meister Eckhart (it rings so true!).

    Thanksgiving Day, of course, means meals and family and sometimes travel. It’s usually a chilly day outside, and lavishly warm inside! The windows tend to be fogged up from the heat of the cooking. And there are football games: a “festivity” from which I can manage to abstain! (I used to attend my alma mater’s gridiron contest to see old high-school chums. But I’m getting too old to be in the elements for sixty interminable minutes of pigskin play.)

    But there is Thanksgiving, and there is giving thanks, and sometimes the latter gets lost in the preparations for the former. On my most lackluster days (and there are many of those!), I do try to sift through the events of the day to find something for which I can be thankful. And usually, with minimal effort, a dozen things come to mind. Even if it’s the absence of a negative.

    Heartfelt good wishes to one and all for a blessed Thanksgiving, however you observe the day!

    Peace and light.

  2. Susan on November 25, 2019 at 4:25 am

    Sr. Melannie:
    I am thankful for you. You Always make us think and realize that God is the center of our life. Looking forward to Thanksgiving to spend the day with our family. Happy Thanksgiving and God’s blessings!

  3. Kathleen Magiera on November 25, 2019 at 5:07 am

    Sr. Melannie,

    Thank you for your Monday blog. My favorite quote was No one can be grateful and unhappy. (Anthony de Mello, SJ). A good reminder during this week leading up to Thanksgiving.


  4. Dee Lewis on November 25, 2019 at 5:15 am

    The hymn took me back to my teenage years. I attended what I think you call a state school. This was sung every day at assembly before classes. That’s over 50 years ago. I loved hearing it so beautifully sung.

  5. Ed Johnson on November 25, 2019 at 5:39 am

    Sister Melannie, All,
    My favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. It is family, friends, both near and far. It is elegant in its simplicity. We offer thanks and praise for things past, present, and yet to come. I have so many memories of Thanksgiving and the days leading to it. My favorite Thanksgiving songs are “Simple Gifts” and “We Gather Together.” They are sort of Thanksgiving anthems, I think. Try YoYo Ma/Alison Krauss version of “Simple Gifts.” A Thanksgiving haiku I recently wrote:
    A sweet day of joy
    Thankfulness for those I love
    Present, past unite

    With gratitude to you, Sister, and all who share in this community.
    Ed J

  6. Mary Lutz on November 25, 2019 at 6:36 am

    Thank you, Sister Melanie, for your time and talent. You are a true treasure to your Community, your readers, and to God!
    May we always be thankful for the many graces and blessings he gives us, and always take the time to thank him…ALWAYS!
    Wishing everyone a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving!

  7. Ann on November 25, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Hello Sr Melannie and all,
    Sister , your reflection was in today’s Living Faith. You suggested noticing three good things today. I will and will be grateful for them. Happy Thanksgiving .


  8. Pete on November 25, 2019 at 8:23 am

    86,400 seconds? I never added it up, that was an eye-opener. That gives a lot of opportunity to say “Thank You”. Thanksgiving is a great day. It is a gathering of my family and friends and I am thankful for that. It doesn’t happen often enough. A lovely old hymn, as I listened to it, i sang right along with it. And also,
    Thanks to you Sister for your blog!

  9. Jean on November 25, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Sister Melannie,
    Thank you for these Monday mornings!!
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  10. Deb on November 25, 2019 at 8:33 am

    I am grateful for my mother who died yesterday morning. I am grateful for her love and support all of these years. I am grateful that in her journey with dementia these past six years, she still remembered me, even if she couldn’t say my name. I am grateful her suffering is now over. I am grateful when I think of the grand reunion she will have with her oldest child who died when he was 16. My heart feels sad, yet I am grateful.

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on November 25, 2019 at 3:54 pm

      Dear Deb, I want to extend to you my deepest sympathy on the death of your mother. Be assured of our prayers for her, for you, and for your family. Your mother must have been a good woman… with love and prayers, Sr. Melannie

  11. Mary M Nausadis on November 25, 2019 at 8:34 am

    Gratitude turns what we have into enough! That I love….
    Childhood memories of awaking on Thanksgiving morning to the smell of turkey baking. Back in those days, my mother would rise at 3:00 AM and put the turkey in an electric roaster and start it on low setting. Such smells of love!
    Then I became the Thanksgiving hostess and cook for many years, truly enjoying the planning and preparing for my family….a time when we all came together with love and empty tummies. Wonderful memories all.

    Now I am a guest and enjoy the pleasre of being waited on with love….being able to visit with my children and grandchildren. For me it is no longer about the food, but about the joy of family.

    This year I am going to first go to help at our citywide Thansgiving meal for the homeless that is put on at a convention center and then will join my family for dinner. I suspect that this will be a very fruitful experience.

    Many blessings to you all and savor all that is..


  12. Elaine Snyder on November 25, 2019 at 8:47 am

    I give thanks for you, Sister! You are my Monday morning blessing! I love this quote: When eating a fruit, think of the person who planted the tree. (Vietnamese proverb). It touched me since I have many fruit trees in my California garden, most of which were planted by my gifted landscaper, a man of Japanese heritage. A lovely way to remember to give thanks!

    Thank you for all you share with your leader ship! God bless!

  13. Sister Marty Dermody on November 25, 2019 at 9:19 am

    Dear Melannie,
    Wishing you the very best and many, many blessings to you and your family and Community this week.
    Thanks so very much for all your beautiful words and blessings you share with so many in your Sunflower blog.
    Much peace and joy to you, S. Marty Dermody

  14. Kate on November 25, 2019 at 9:21 am

    I am French by heritage and here is one of my favorite French proverbs…”Gratitude is the memory of the heart.” La gratitude est la mémoire du cœur.

  15. R C Salinas on November 25, 2019 at 10:02 am

    Dear Sister Melanie,

    You have provided enough quotes to resemble
    a Thanksgiving brunch for the whole week. I just
    presided at funeral rites for a 3 year old, whose
    death is being investigated by the police and for a
    23 year old who overdosed. I needed those quotes
    especially from Dorothy Day and St John Henry
    Newman. They are bringing some overdue tears.
    Thanks, happy Thanksgiving to you and your
    community. Deacon Rc

  16. Pam on November 25, 2019 at 10:44 am

    Thank you for starting my week off with another wonderful blog from you.
    All of the quotes ring true…we can all use a friendly reminder especially if we feel like grumbling.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  17. Suzanne on November 25, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Dear Melannie,

    I am a collection of quotes like you and enjoy using them in cards. My thanksgiving card quote this year is from William Shakespeare.

    O Lord, who lends me life,
    lend me a heart replete with thankfulness.

    May our hearts be replete with thankfulness for God’s abundant blessings in this season of gratitude.

  18. Josita on November 25, 2019 at 11:03 am

    Dear Melannie,
    Thank you for your inspiring words each Monday. Always look forward to reflecting on them.
    I love #16 and one that I read recently but don’t know the author : “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a gift and not giving it”.
    Wishing you and your loved ones a blessed and happy Thanksgiving .

  19. John Hopkins on November 25, 2019 at 11:57 am

    I echo what so many have said….Thank you, Sr. Melannie, for every Monday morning!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    PS: Really like #18

  20. Marian on November 25, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Dear Sister Melanie:
    Thank you for your wonderful blog each Monday Morning, it means so much to me. Wishing you and yours a joyful Thanksgiving.
    To Deb:
    Thank you for sharing your heartfelt sorrow over the loss of your Mother. It gave me much needed encouragement.
    May God watch over you today and always.

  21. Patty on November 25, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Thanksgiving Blessings to you, Sister.

  22. Mary on November 25, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    #18 spoke to me a simple prayer -Eucharist mens Thanksgiving – what a precious gift

  23. Tom on November 25, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Dear Sr. Melannie,
    I often feel sorry for all the turkeys that get the surprise of their lives to provide the centerpiece of our holiday festivities.
    But then I think of your dear brother, John, who, with the same sense of wonder, could give praise to the Creator for the majesty of a ten point buck grazing in the meadow outside his living room and then, when hunting season arrived, thank God for the gift of his own good marksmanship.
    A Blessed Thanksgiving to everyone in Chardon.

  24. Annie on November 25, 2019 at 2:29 pm

    I thank God and you for YOU!

  25. Janet on November 25, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Dear Sister Melannie,
    Thank you for your blog and your gifts of ministry. You make Monday mornings something to look forward to.
    I think #2 is my favorite. When I think about the things I’m thankful for, it makes me smile and realize that I have many blessings in my life.
    Thanksgiving means love, family, and sharing our gifts.

  26. Lynn on November 25, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    Dear Sister Melannie,
    You are the gift that keeps on giving. Seven years ago, as an Associate of the Little Company of Mary Sisters in Evergreen Park, IL, I had the privilege of attending your beautiful retreat. It was a memorable and impactful experience. Ever since, I have been moved by your words, both in your books and blogs.

    My favorite quote is by Meister Eckhart: “If the only prayer you say in your whole life is ‘Thank you’, that would suffice”.

    I am so grateful for the opportunity to say, “Thank you, Sister Melannie for the many ways you have touched my heart”.

  27. Lois Siemens on November 25, 2019 at 6:38 pm

    This is one of my favourite thanksgiving quotes:
    “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”— Melody Beattie
    Thank you for your weekly reflections!!

  28. Jean Canatsey on November 26, 2019 at 10:08 am

    Thank you Sr. Melannie for “Sunflower Seeds”. Those seeds plant lovely thoughts in my mind and heart every Monday morning. I particularly like quote #18 and must admit that I had never considered praying for the person who planted the tree when I ate a piece of fruit. What a lovely thought.
    I am particularly grateful for the short two and a half month life of our grandson, Tyler, who would now be 30 years old. The priest who baptized and buried Tyler credits him with forming his entire ministry. What a legacy….❤️
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  29. Sue on November 26, 2019 at 2:56 pm

    Thank you for taking your time out every week to make us all just feel…. really good!!! Your the BEST!!!!

  30. JulieTeder on November 26, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    I thank God for you and the gifts you have blessed us with in your blog each Monday. So many of the quotes rang true, but the gift of life and family always tops the list for me. So I am very grateful for my blessings.

  31. C. Armenti on November 27, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Dear Sr. Melannie,
    I am so thankful for the faith we share and all the teachings of Catholicism.
    I am so thankful for Jesus giving of Himself and the Eucharist.
    I am so thankful for you, and the nuns who have dedicated their lives to spreading and teaching the healthy fear of God and His Almighty Love. You help us to form a good conscious with a loving heart and that in life is an invaluable gift. Thank you and His blessings always,
    Charlene Armenti

  32. Cheryl Zelazo on November 30, 2019 at 8:41 am

    #5 definitely stands out! I am guilty too often of “bewailing the times I live in!” Maybe I’m just getting old!! Thank you for these reflections and hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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