You can find no better means of giving thanks to God, the Greatest of all benefactors, than by frequently hearing Mass and offering it to Him in return for all His mercies. St. Irenaeus says: "For this Holy Mass was instituted, that we might not appear thankless towards our God." That is to say: If it were not for the Sacrifice of the Mass, we should have nothing in the whole world wherewith we could adequately render thanks to God for the benefits we have received from Him. Christ, therefore, had this object in view when He instituted the Mass, namely, to provide us with an efficacious act of thanksgiving whereby to express our gratitude towards God.
The words of the Mass are of themselves sufficient evidence that it is justly termed a sacrifice of thanksgiving. What is it but a hearty giving of thanks when the priest says in the Gloria in excelsis, "We praise Thee; we bless Thee; we adore Thee; we glorify Thee; we give Thee thanks for Thy great glory, 0 Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty," etc.? And in the Preface he calls upon all present to give thanks, saying: "Let us give thanks to the Lord our God; it is truly meet and just, right and salutary, that we should always and in all places give thanks to Thee, 0 holy Lord, Father Almighty, Eternal God, through Christ Our Lord," etc. No more sublime hymn of praise can be offered to God than the Church utters in the Preface.
And when the priest comes to the Consecration he says these words: "Who took bread into His holy and venerable hands and with His eyes lifted up towards Heaven, to God, His almighty Father, giving thanks." How touching is this lifting up of the eyes of Our Dear Lord! How all-powerful His giving of thanks, transcending by far that of all Angels and all men! Had we been able of ourselves to give God due thanks, it would not have been necessary for Christ to come to our assistance. What He did at the Last Supper He repeats daily upon our altars, where raising His eyes His Father, He gives Him hearty thanks for His benefits. And since this thanksgiving is from the lips of One who is divine, it cannot be otherwise than infinite; and since it is infinite, God can require nothing more; and since He can require nothing more, it must needs give Him infinite satisfaction.
Therefore, when you hear Mass, unite our heart and your will to the heart and the will of Christ and give God thanks with all your powers. And in order that this giving of thanks may be the more efficacious and acceptable, offer to the Eternal Father that superabundant thanksgiving which His divine Son, under the species of bread and wine, offers to Him, for all the benefits He has bestowed on thee.
If from your earliest childhood up to this hour you had thanked God upon your knees for all His gifts and graces, if you had called upon all devout persons to join with you in your life-long tribute of thanks, nay, if you had invoked the company of Angels and Saints to come to your aid and they in union with you and all good men had incessantly thanked and praised God, the tribute of gratitude paid to Him would be less than that rendered to Him by His Son in one single Mass.
Fr. Martin von Cochem (The Incredible Catholic Mass)
Now thank we all our God,
With heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done,
In whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mother's arms
Has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love,
And still is ours today.
May this bounteous God
Through all our life be near us
With ever joyful hearts
And blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us in his grace,
And guide us in distress;
And free us from all sin,
Till heaven we possess.
All praise and thanks
To God the Father now be given;
The Son and Him who reigns
With them in highest heaven;
The one eternal God,
Whom earth and heaven adore;
For thus it was, is now,
And shall be evermore.
We need hardly say that, as with the prayer of adoration, so also with the prayer of thanksgiving, the only thanksgiving worthy of God is that of our Lord Jesus Christ; and the moment when this thanksgiving reaches its highest perfection is in the Sacrifice of the Mass.
Does not the word" Eucharist" means thanksgiving? Especially during the last few years there has been a great increase of devotion to the Sacrament of the Eucharist. But there is not the same degree of what one may call the spirit of the Eucharist. By the spirit of the Eucharist I mean the spirit of gratitude, homage and thanksgiving to God. Just as the Eucharist is the essential part, and one may say the centre of Catholic worship, so the spirit of the Eucharist ought to be the predominant element in our prayers. As a matter of fact, it is usually the least prominent.
Fr. Raul Plus, S.J. (How to Pray Well)
"O sublime humility! O humble sublimity! That the Lord of the universe, God and the Son of God, so humbles Himself that for our salvation He hides Himself under the form of bread! Look at the humility of God and pour out your hearts before him."
St. Francis of Assisi
And thoughts of praise and thanksgiving also for all of creation and God's many gifts to us today: THE CANTICLE OF THE SUN from St. Francis of Assisi
Most high, all powerful, all good Lord! All praise is yours, all glory, all honor, and all blessing. To you, alone, Most High, do they belong. No mortal lips are worthy to pronounce your name.
Be praised, my Lord, through all your creatures, especially through my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day; and you give light through him. And he is beautiful and radiant in all his splendor! Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, through Sister Moon and the stars; in the heavens you have made them, precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air, and clouds and storms, and all the weather, through which you give your creatures sustenance.
Be praised, My Lord, through Sister Water; she is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, through Brother Fire, through whom you brighten the night. He is beautiful and cheerful, and powerful and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, through our sister Mother Earth, who feeds us and rules us, and produces various fruits with colored flowers and herbs.
Be praised, my Lord, through those who forgive for love of you; through those who endure sickness and trial. Happy those who endure in peace, for by you, Most High, they will be crowned.
Be praised, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whose embrace no living person can escape. Woe to those who die in mortal sin! Happy those she finds doing your most holy will. The second death can do no harm to them.
Praise and bless my Lord, and give thanks, and serve him with great humility.