Eucharist as Quintessential Expression of Gratitude
It seems well known that the word Eucharist comes from Greek. In Luke 22:17, we read this: “Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And again in verse 19, “Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and said, “Take this and share it among yourselves”. It is important to note the phrases “said the blessing” and “gave thanks” use the same word in Greek. (εὐχαριστήσας – eucharistēsas)
The important question to think about to whom the thanks is given or meant for in these verses. With the use of the word, and the context in which we find it, it is easy to see that saying the blessing, and giving thanks are both actions directed by Jesus and the disciples towards God the Father.
This word became associated with the action of Jesus in the Mass because it represented the expression of Thanksgiving of the Son for the Father, and it was the way in which we could express our thanksgiving made in and through Christ. We can only give thanks because of the gifts and graces God give us to do so.
As the Second Vatican Council teaches us, the Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life. And so if we want to enter into the ways that prayer is a gift from God, it only makes sense to consider what the Church teaches is the best way to receive this gift. And, as the gift of Jesus, the Son of God, is such a perfect gift, it can only inspire gratitude and thanksgiving.
So I am going to propose that the best way to experience prayer as a gift from God is in the Eucharist. We experience this gift in many ways. Of course, we experience the Eucharist most especially in the Mass. It is at Mass the actions of the priest in the person of Christ that Jesus becomes truly present, body and blood, soul and divinity. For a Christian most looking to experience prayer as a gift, Mass must be a regular part of every Sunday, and perhaps even more often.
It can also be beneficial to think about going to a celebration of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. You could consider this like an extension of the Mass. While the Mass is the most important expression of the Eucharist, Adoration can be seen as a way in which we can focus more on the Eucharistic gift of Jesus himself to us.
So today, why not take a little time to find a place of Adoration, or go to Mass, to experience the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
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