Thanksgiving: The Mass as it Relates to the Interior Life, Part XI
Fr. Samuel Waters | The Daily Knight | Sermon
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.