…And Become Thankful.

In his letter to the Colossians, St. Paul writes,

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which [peace] you were also called in one body: and become thankful [kai eucharistoi ginesthe]. (Colossians 3:15)

Being thankful and having the peace of Christ go hand in hand.  Though it may seem an afterthought in the above verse, St. Paul likely puts emphasis on thanksgiving. In fact it can be argued that with thanksgiving first being given, peace comes with it, and both will reside in one’s heart in unison.  Elsewhere, St. Paul writes of thanksgiving, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,  give thanks in all things [en panti eucharisteite]:  for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thes 5: 16 – 18).

It is easy to give thanks for the good, pleasant things we encounter.  “Even the pagans do this!”  It is quite another thing, and requires much greater faith, to give thanks for the unpleasant, irritating, challenging, and even the mundane things we encounter. Thanksgiving – living out the Eucharist – in these “undesirable” circumstances brings about transformation.  Both the circumstance and, more importantly, the one who gives thanks for such circumstances will be be transformed.

Let’s look to the actions and words of Christ to give further clarity:

And while they were eating, taking bread he blessed [eulogesas], broke, and gave it to them and said, “take, this is my Body.”  And taking the cup, after giving thanks [eucharistesas], gave it to them, and they all drank of it.  And he said to them, “This is my Blood of the New Covenant which is being poured out [ekchunnomenon] for  many” (Mark 14: 22 – 24).

The actions of Jesus, both blessing and giving thanks, transformed common bread and wine into his Body and Blood.

Becoming thankful, living out the Eucharist, redeems the circumstance.  Thus, thanksgiving in the setting in which we find yourselves bears it and us into Christ’s presence.  It and we are united to Christ.

Additionally, we and our actions of thanksgiving, in turn, can be taken to the Eucharist in each Divine Liturgy.  Here, too, they and we are united to Christ in the gifts of bread and wine which become his Body and Blood.  Transformation takes place once more.  The Eucharist is lived and we are made even more alive in Christ.

In Christ,
Fr. Irenaeus

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