About Gratitude

Gratitude is the thankful acknowledgement of blessings, graces, favors, and gifts received or hoped to receive.  It is rooted in the African, biblical, and Ignatian/Jesuit traditions. An African proverb says: "The one who says 'thank you' for a favor received stands another chance of receiving more favors."  Our Lord Jesus Christ always gave thanks to his Abba, Father.  While at table with his disciples, he took bread, and then a cup of wine, gave thanks and said the blessing (Matthew 26:26ff).

Gratitude is ingrained in the Jesuit way of life.  It is in the nature of Jesuits always to give thanks. St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, was strong on gratitude.  "Honor your friends and show them gratitude," he enjoined all Jesuits.  In a letter to a Jesuit, St. Ignatius wrote: "Ingratitude is the most abominable of sins and it should be detested in the sight of our Creator and Lord by all of His creatures."  For it is a forgetting of the graces, benefits, and blessings received."  In a similar letter to a group of Jesuits he wrote, "On the other hand, how loved and honored in heaven is gratitude for all the blessings and gifts we have received."

Our gratitude need not be for anything astounding. Little things are also important: a smile, a refreshing glass of water, a phone call from a friend, a visit from a benefactor, the gift of family, an assurance of God's faithfulness.  

Gratitude is published by the Jesuit Development Office of the North-West Africa Province of the Society of Jesus.  It shares its stories with friends and benefactors of the province, as partners in God's mission.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the individual writers.  They do not represent official policy statements of the Society of Jesus. Please address all inquiries and letters to the editor to the address below.

Jesuit Development Office
4, L. Agusto Close Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria
234-907-177-3535 (office)
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www.jesuits-anw.org