How does your faith express thanks?
Rev. GEOFFREY KERSLAKE is a priest of the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Ottawa.
Many Catholic Christians begin or end the day with a few moments of private prayer at home where we thank God for the wonderful way He has blessed us with many graces, including our family, friends, and especially the gift of faith.
A famous piece of advice that I have found personally helpful is to “cultivate an attitude of gratitude”. But every Sunday (and frequently during the week) Catholic Christian parishes celebrate the sacrament of the Eucharist, which is also known as the Mass.
The word “Eucharist” is a Greek word meaning “thanksgiving”! Every Catholic Mass is a profound act of worship and thanksgiving to God for all His blessings, especially the gift of our redemption by Jesus Christ through the Paschal Mystery of his death on the Cross, his Resurrection and Ascension to heaven.
The Mass is the most profound expression of our faith because in it we not only give God the praise and worship we rightfully owe Him as our loving Creator, but also because we encounter God truly present in the Holy Eucharist – body, blood, soul and divinity.
Catholic Christians believe that Jesus Christ is actually present in the Eucharist and this privileged encounter with our Lord transforms us and strengthens us to be witnesses to God’s love and goodness in the world.
The Jesuit priest and theologian Robert Taft remarked: “The sacrament does not simply stand for something, it brings it about; the sign and the reality converge”. Although we give thanks to God in our private prayers, especially when we ‘count our blessings’, the Mass is the definitive act of worship and thanksgiving for Catholic Christians.
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