St. Paul tells us to dedicate ourselves to thankfulness. When St. Paul uses the verb, “dedicate,” he seems to be calling for a consistent attitude of giving thanks on our part. Not explicit in his statement, but an essential part of giving thanks, means that we should direct our thanks to someone, beginning with God. Often people say, “I feel so thankful.” But, thanksgiving is not a feeling we simply have; rather, it is an acknowledgment of our indebtedness to God. The Eucharist is the supreme act of thanksgiving since we join our gratitude to that of Christ as we thank the Father with him. Looking at the Liturgy of the Eucharist with an eye for thanksgiving might make us more aware of what we are doing. At the end of the first Scripture readings, we say, “Thanks be to God.” Why thanks? It is because we have just heard the living Word of God. God is present in his Word. We faithfully accept it, thanking God for being present and speaking to us. The Word is “living,” not just a throwback to another time. Turning to the Gloria, when we recite or sing it, we give thanks to God. When the bread and wine are offered at the Preparation of the Gifts, the priest says, “Blessed are you, Lord God” and the people say, “Blessed be God forever.” The Jews understood this word “blessed” as meaning to give thanks. Bread, in that instance, means that we give thanks for all we have. Acting out our thanks, the prayer continues by acknowledging that the bread has been made with our human hands. We have used the talent that God gave us and we are grateful. Work symbolizes, here in this priestly prayer, using our hands. We do the work we have to do. At the Preface, before the Consecration, we are again invited to give thanks to the Lord our God. We respond that to give thanks and praise is right and just. Thus, our giving thanks should not be limited to “Turkey Day” once a year, but as an accustomed relationship with God.
Filed under: Awalt Papers