Introductory Note:

Eucharisteo is the Greek word for thanksgiving. So, it is fitting that this excerpt from John Chrysostom’s homily centers the idea of thanksgiving around the celebration of the Eucharist.

Chrysostom marvels at the extravagance of God’s love, especially as poured out through the sacrifice of the Son and repeatedly reminds us not only to be grateful for the blessings that have been lavished on us, but for those given to our neighbors, too. In God’s family, he seems to say, a blessing given to one is a blessing given to all, as we join together in communion that is truly a thanksgiving.

Renovaré Team

To God let us give thanks con­tin­u­al­ly. For it is too mon­strous, enjoy­ing as we do His boun­ty in deed every day, not so much as in word to acknowl­edge the favor; and this, though the acknowl­edg­ment again yield all its prof­it to us. Since He needs not, be sure, any­thing of ours: but we stand in need of all things from Him. Thus thanks­giv­ing itself adds noth­ing to Him, but caus­es us to be near­er to Him. For if men’s boun­ties, when we call them to mem­o­ry, do the more warm us with their prop­er love-charm; much more when we are con­tin­u­al­ly bring­ing to mind the noble acts of our Lord towards us, shall we be more dili­gent in regard of His commandments.

For this cause Paul also said, Be thank­ful” (Colos­sians 3:15). For the best preser­v­a­tive of any ben­e­fit is the remem­brance of the ben­e­fit, and a con­tin­u­al thanksgiving.

For this cause, even the awful mys­ter­ies, so full of that great sal­va­tion, which are cel­e­brat­ed at every com­mu­nion, are called a sac­ri­fice of thanks­giv­ing, because they are the com­mem­o­ra­tion of many ben­e­fits, and they sig­ni­fy the very sum of God’s care for us, and by all means they work upon us to be thank­ful. For if His being born of a vir­gin was a great mir­a­cle, and the evan­ge­list said in amaze, now all this was done,” His being also slain, what place shall we find for that? Tell me. I mean, if to be born is called all this,” to be cru­ci­fied, and to pour forth His blood, and to give Him­self to us for a spir­i­tu­al feast and ban­quet — what can that be called? Let us there­fore give Him thanks con­tin­u­al­ly, and let this pre­cede both our words and our works.

But let us be thank­ful not for our own bless­ings alone, but also for those of oth­ers; for in this way we shall be able both to destroy our envy, and to riv­et our char­i­ty, and make it more gen­uine. Since it will not even be pos­si­ble for you to go on envy­ing them, in behalf of whom you give thanks to the Lord.

Where­fore, as you know, the priest also enjoins to give thanks for the world, for the for­mer things, for the things that are now, for what has been done to us before, for what shall befall us here­after, when that sac­ri­fice is set forth.

For this is the thing both to free us from earth, and to remove us into heav­en, and to make us angels instead of men. Because they too form a choir, and give thanks to God for His good things bestowed on us, say­ing, Glo­ry to God in the high­est, and on earth peace, good will towards men. And what is this to us, that are not upon earth, nor are men? Nay, it is very much to us, for we have been taught so to love our fel­low ser­vants, as even to account their bless­ings ours.

Where­fore Paul also, every­where in his epis­tles, gives thanks for God’s gra­cious acts to the world.

Let us too there­fore con­tin­u­al­ly give thanks, for our own bless­ings, and for those of oth­ers, alike for the small and for the great. For though the gift be small, it is made great by being God’s gift, or rather, there is noth­ing small that comes from Him, not only because it is bestowed by Him, but also in its very nature.

And to pass over all the rest, which exceed the sand in mul­ti­tude; what is equal to the dis­pen­sa­tion that has tak­en place for our sake? In that what was more pre­cious to Him than all, even His only-begot­ten Son, Him He gave for us His ene­mies; and not only gave, but after giv­ing, did even set Him before us as food; Him­self doing all things that were for our good, both in giv­ing Him, and in mak­ing us thank­ful for all this. For because man is for the most part unthank­ful, He does Him­self every­where take in hand and bring about what is for our good. And what He did with respect to the Jews, by places, and times, and feasts, remind­ing them of His ben­e­fits, that He did in this case also, by the man­ner of the sac­ri­fice bring­ing us to a per­pet­u­al remem­brance of His boun­ty in these things.

From Homi­ly 25 on Matthew” via NewAd​vent​.org.

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

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