At All Times and In All Places … Let Us Be Grateful

Celebrant    Let us stand well. Let us stand in awe. Let us be attentive, that we may present the holy offering in peace.
People          A mercy of peace, a sacrifice of praise.
Celebrant    The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.
People          And with your spirit.
Celebrant    Let us lift up our hearts.
People          We lift them up to the Lord.
Celebrant    Let us give thanks to the Lord.
People          It is proper and right to worship the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit: the Trinity, one in essence and undivided.

Celebrant   It is proper and right to sing to You, bless You, praise You, thank You and worship You in all places of Your dominion; for You are God ineffable, beyond comprehension, invisible, beyond understanding, existing forever and always the same; You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit. You brought us into being out of nothing, and when we fell, You raised us up again. You did not cease doing everything until You led us to heaven and granted us Your kingdom to come. For all these things we thank You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit; for all things that we know and do not know, for blessings seen and unseen that have been bestowed upon us… (The Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom)

From “The Homilies on Matthew,” by St. John Chrysostom
Let us give thanks to God throughout our lives. For how wrong it would be, if every day we enjoyed his blessings in deed, and yet in word gave him no return, and that too when an offering of gratitude would but increase our advantage. For God needs noth­ing from us, but we need everything from him. So our thanks are of no profit to him, but they make us more worthy of him. For if the memory of their kindness towards us deepens our love for our fellow men, how much more will the perpetual memory of the Lord’s goodness to us make us more eager to keep his commands.

For the best safeguard of a kindness is to remember it with everlasting gratitude. That is why that awe-inspiring and life-giv­ing sacrament which we celebrate at every gathering is called the Eucharist. It is the commemoration of many blessings and the culmination of divine providence, and teaches us to give thanks always.

For if to be born of a Virgin was a great miracle, and the amazed evangelist wrote of it: All this happened, what can we say of the Lord’s sacrifice? For if the Lord’s birth was called all this, what should we call his crucifixion, the shedding of his blood, and his giving himself to us as a spiritual feast? Therefore we must give thanks to him continuously, and let thanksgiving be the motive of all we do and say. And let us give thanks not only for our own blessings, but for those of our neighbours too. Thus we shall be able to rid ourselves of envy, and increase our love and make it more sincere. For to continue to envy those on whose behalf we give thanks to the Lord will be impossible.

Therefore the priest too, when that sacrifice is set before him, bids us give thanks for the whole world, for the old dispensation and the new, for all that was done for us before and all that awaits us hereafter. For this sets us free from earth and turns us towards heaven, and makes angels out of men. Even the very angels, in heavenly choirs, give thanks to God for his goodness to us, as they sing: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men in whom he is well pleased.

But what is this to us who are not on earth and are not men? It means a great deal, for it teaches us so to love our fellow-servants that we rejoice in their good fortune as if it were our own. It is for that reason that St Paul in all his letters gives thanks for the blessings of the whole world. So let us too give everlasting thanks for all the gifts, large or small, that are given both to ourselves and to others.

 

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