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  • Alexandra Clark | The Daily Knight

Thanksgiving: The Mass as it Relates to the Interior Life, Part XI

Fr. Samuel Waters | The Daily Knight | Sermon


Thanksgiving:


The Priest’s thanksgiving begins when he receives the Body of Christ. He takes some verses from the psalms which the Lord recited. “What shall I render to the Lord for all the things that He hath rendered to me?”


What can the priest render to God when all he has is nothing and the abyss between nothingness and everything is so great! The priest takes in his hands the chalice of salvation invoking and proclaiming the Name of the Lord: “I shall receive the chalice of salvation and call upon the name of the Lord.” The chalice is the expression of his gratitude.


Only Jesus is His own praise and His own Act of Thanksgiving because only He is truly priest and a Host. He is the “Word made flesh.” The priest then drinks the Blood of the Lord expressing a sincere wish that it may preserve his soul for eternal life.

After the distribution of Holy Communion to the faithful, the priest purifies the chalice. While the wine is being poured into the chalice, he continues his act of thanksgiving. “Grant oh Lord that what we have taken with our mouth, we may receive with a pure mind and that from a temporal gift it may become for us an eternal remedy.”


Then while he purifies his fingers over the chalice with wine and water he prays: “may Thy Body, Oh Lord which I have received and Thy Blood which I have drunk, cleave to my inmost parts and grant that no stain of sin may remain in me whom these pure and holy sacraments have refreshed.” Often the Post Communion prayer also expresses immense gratitude. There sometimes within the prayer we are encouraged to have perpetual thanksgiving. This willingness to be perpetually thankful for the gift of our Savior and Lord would help us become who we are called to be “other Christs.”


Before turning to bless the people, the priest announces the end of Mass. The response is “Deo Gratias” (thanks be to God). In penitential Masses (purple Vestments), where there is no Gloria, the priest invites the people to give thanks to the Lord, to bless him: “Benedicamus Domino” (Let us Bless the Lord- in the 1954 Roman Missal, not the 1962 Roman Missal). The “Deo Gratias” is repeated following the Last Gospel which ends the Mass.


It is a widely held Doctrine that the Sacred Species remains in those who have received for 15 minutes after He has been received. Fifteen minutes is the suggested time that one should give thanks for having the opportunity to receive Holy Communion. One should not just rush out of church as soon as or before the priest leaves the sanctuary. It is sad to see the many souls who could be temples of God are miserable sepulchers. It is recommended that our thanksgiving should be in accordance with the spirit of the Holy Communion or the prayer after Holy Communion.


St. Augustine says “If you receive the Body of Christ well, you will be what you receive, other Christs.”

You may be moved by Divine inspiration to prolong your conversation with God in your thanksgiving. If you can do so without being neglectful to your other duties then you should cooperate with the divine inspiration. The Holy Ghost will guide you in your thanksgiving. The most important part of your thanksgiving is that you should recognize the greatest of the Divine Gift which is that we should draw from this infinite Treasure the grace that He comes to give to us by our reception of Him. It is possible for you to raise up your heart to God, from time to time, in an instant with great affection.


Whenever your soul is in a state of grace (no mortal sins on your soul), everything you do is a prayer.

If your actions are in keeping with your dignity as a free and rational creature, they will all give thanks to God throughout your life. Your days will be filled with perpetual praise. You will be preparing for a new friendship, more and more intimate with the Divine Spouse and for a never-ending communion with Him in Heaven.


Always and for everything, let your soul, detached from itself completely, give thanks always for prosperity, adversity, health, illness, fervor and interior dryness. You will then be filled with a peace which nothing can disturb. The beginning is difficult but the generous soul opens itself to the outpouring of grace and begins to get free of itself.


It will attain a love of God that all fear will go away from. It will then begin to taste real happiness and do everything for love of Christ, encouraged by the delights which it feels in the practice of virtue.

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These sermons were taken from the book by Benedictine Monk, Bernardo Vasconcelos, OSB called The Mass and the Interior Life (Available to purchase here or here). This book is the second English edition of the book which was originally published in Portuguese in 1936. It is a profound reflection on the Traditional Latin Mass. This book has been written for the purpose of helping the faithful, ordinary souls, to attain one most important object: active participation in the holy Sacrifice of the Mass; so that, consciously & deliberately, they may offer the sacred Victim, offer themselves and be nourished by receiving the holy Eucharist. In a word: that they may live the blessed Eucharist, the sacrifice & the sacrament, in its entirety, & that by living it they may sanctify themselves more & more, for that is the will of God: Haec est voluntas Dei, sanctificatio vestra (I Thess. IV, 3).

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"We must live the holy Mass. The holy Mass is the centre around which the whole liturgy revolves. And the liturgy is the primary and indispensable source of the true Christian spirit. Consequently the Mass must be the centre of every perfect Christian life. This life is called interior in as much as it is hidden with Christ in God. The Mass must therefore be the centre of all our interior life." ~ Brother Bernardo Vasconcelos, OSB



N.B. This is the final sermon by Fr. Samuel Waters in this Eleven Part Series, to read the the previous sermons, see below: