Thanksgiving

“Father, we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks and praise.”

Those are quite frequently the first few words of the prayer known as the Preface, the prayer right before the Eucharistic prayer.  We do well always and everywhere to give God thanks.  There is not anything that we have, that we have not received, Saint Paul tells us.

God has done so much for us and has given us so many good things, and yet our fallen human nature is more inclined to complaining than to thanking God for the good that we have.  It is easy for us to get frustrated when things don’t go the way that we want them to.  It is easy to complain about all that we have to do, especially around the holidays.  Holidays can become so stressful that we just can’t wait for them to be over.  Then, when all the craziness of the holidays is through, then we might have time to give God thanks and praise.

That is not what we hear in the Preface that the Church gives to us in our Liturgy.  We are to give God thanks and praise always and everywhere.  What if I am too busy?  What if I am stressed out?  It is in times when I might think I have too much to do and too much stress that I have a greater need to pray.  God can give us peace, even in the midst of the hustle and bustle.  Holidays were not meant to be a burden.  Perhaps we should re-think the way that we celebrate holidays if they have become burdensome instead of a joy.  Perhaps we are not focused on what we should be.  Part of the problem might also be that we need to learn that it is possible to thank God, even in the midst of difficulties.

Jesus, of course is the greatest example for us.  The day before He suffered, He took bread in His sacred hands.  He looked up to Heaven, and gave God His Father thanks and praise.  He knew that He was about to suffer.  He had predicted it again and again.  He predicted what was about to happen to Him as He broke the bread; He said: “This is my body, which will be given up for you.”  He took the cup, and again gave God thanks and praise.  He said: “This is the cup of my blood; it will be shed for you.”

The word “Eucharist” comes from the Greek and the word in Greek means “Thanksgiving”.  One of the reasons that the early Church used this word is precisely because Christ gave thanks as He broke the bread; another reason is that by offering the body and blood of Our Lord at Mass we return perfect thanks and praise to God.

Let us be sure to thank God for all the good things that we have; let us not forget to thank Him for the gift of our Faith, and for the great gift of Himself that Jesus gives to us in the Most Holy Eucharist.  May we remember to give God thanks and praise always and everywhere.

May God bless you and your families.

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