Gratitude is the Memory of the Heart

“Gratitude is the memory of the heart,” an old French proverb by Jean-Baptiste Massieu.

What a fitting thought for today, Thanksgiving Day, when all of the Scripture readings center on thankfulness and giving glory to God.

I know we’ve all heard, many times, that we should be thankful and show gratitude throughout our lives. Whether it is as simple as “thank you” for a gift received or as dramatic as the heartfelt prayer when a miracle has happened in our lives, both can be emotional experiences. And, I dare say, would impress themselves on our hearts in memory, to be often recalled for someone’s kindness, or in God’s goodness to us.

Let’s look at gratitude differently today. I know, you will be saying prayers of thanks at your table feast, and may even go around the table, each person saying that for which they are thankful. And that is a good thing, always. But what about the gratitude that is impressed on the heart, the “memory” of God, if you will? Do you believe that God is grateful for you? Do you believe that God is thankful that he created you, no matter who you are? Better yet, can you believe that God is thankful for your existence?

I won’t answer that question for you. Instead, I challenge you to ponder it today as you celebrate with family and friends. The simple concept of God being grateful for us. I am in no way suggesting that your gratitude to God for the good things in your life should be set aside, and you no longer need to praise God, but rather as an exercise in understanding his love for all of his creation. Because when you do this, you will realize that it is not just us who have simple, but good lives with family and friends around us, but rather, his love must also be realized by those who do not have the pleasures of family or a place to celebrate today. Regardless of where we are in this world, God will be grateful for having made us because the memory of us, impressed on his heart, cannot be denied. Should you need a visual reminder of this, think only of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, so full and burning with love for us because his Father created us, and their capacity for love knows no bounds. No matter who you are, you have a cherished place in this world. You reside on God’s heart.

“Every day will I bless you, and I will praise your name forever and ever. Great is the LORD and highly to be praised; his greatness is unsearchable.”

-Psalm 145: 2-3

Jeanne Penoyar, an Accounts Manager here at Diocesan, is currently a Lector at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Grand Rapids, MI. While at St. Thomas the Apostle, Grand Rapids, Jeanne was a Lector, Cantor, Coordinator of Special Liturgies, Coordinator of lectors and, at one time, chair of the Liturgy Commission. In a past life, secretary/bookkeeper at the Basilica of St. Adalbert where she ran the RCIA program for the Steepletown parishes. And she loves to write! When relaxing, she likes reading and word puzzles. You can contact her at