Drama of the Divine Liturgy (Post-Communion Thanksgiving and Blessing)

It is imperative that we respond to God with an attitude of thanksgiving, and for that reason we do not conclude the Eucharist liturgy without offering thanksgiving to God:

ALMIGHTY and everliving God, we most heartily thank thee, for that thou dost vouchsafe to feed us who have duly received these holy mysteries, with the spiritual food of the most precious Body and Blood of thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ; and dost assure us thereby of thy favour and goodness towards us; and that we are very members incorporate in the mystical body of thy Son, which is the blessed company of all faithful people; and are also heirs through hope of thy everlasting kingdom, by the merits of his most precious death and passion. And we humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father, so to assist us with thy grace, that we may continue in that holy fellowship, and do all such good works as thou hast prepared for us to walk in; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

This prayer reminds us that we have requested from Almighty God that He, "Give us this day our daily bread." The Eucharist is something with which God has fed us, not of which we have fed ourselves. It reminds us of several elements:

(1) It is God who feeds us,

(2) We are assured the favor and goodness (i.e., grace) of God towards us through our participation,

(3) Through our participation we experience union with Christ ("are very members incorporate in the mystical body of Christ") and with the saints ("blessed company of all faithful people"),

(4) We, like the prodigal son returned home to fanfare and a feast, are heirs of the Divine Kingdom,

(5) We are in need of continued assistance from God through His grace to continue in a right relationship with the Almighty,

(6) and there is an expectation of how we walk ("all such good works as thou has prepared for us to walk in").

This post-communion Thanksgiving, therefore, is not only a declaration of thanks but is a declaration of the need we have to continually rely upon the grace freely given by God Almighty and that we, as members of His kingdom, have a responsibility for how we live our lives and for which He equips and empowers us.

The priest having prayed this prayer of thanksgiving on behalf of the people turns to the people and issues a blessing from God Almighty. It is as if a conversation has just taken place. The people, through the priest, express thanks to God for what He has done and express dependence upon Him for their continued faithfulness to His mandate in their lives; the priest, as a representative of God, then declares to the the people that they are blessed now and into the future.

(as published in St. Luke’s Sunday bulletin, 9/23/18)