A few posts ago I talked about some ways that I cope with stress. And one of those is gratitude.
When I am tempted to think of the negative, it helps to instead shift my thoughts to gratitude. Not only does this distract myself from my former thoughts, but replaces them with positive ones.
When I thank God for all His gifts, I realize how blessed I am and stress lessens.
When I dwell on His outpouring love, depression decreases.
When I think of his beauty and goodness, I see how wonderful God is and self-defeating temptations disappear.
It takes to much energy trying to NOT focus on the negative, because that in itself takes focus. It is much easier to just think about something else. To think about gratitude. To think about….
Did you know that Eucharist means thanksgiving?
“The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his benefits … Eucharist means first of all “thanksgiving.” The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of praise by which the Church sings the glory of God in the name of all creation.” – Catechism of the Catholic Church 1360
So when we offer thanks and praise to God, we are offering Eucharisteo!
What if that is the key to receiving the Eucharist in this time when we cannot physically?
When we receive Christ physically in the Eucharist, we are uniting our body and soul to Christ’s body and soul.
Likewise, when we offering thanksgiving we unite our hearts and soul to Christ in an offering of praise. Just like we do on the altar at Mass.
And what does Jesus offer in return when we give him our heart and soul?
So if we are offering Him Eucharisteo (thanksgiving), Christ in turn gives us Eucharisteo, which is Eucharist, which is HIM!!
This could be the key of how we can receive the Eucharist in our present circumstances… by giving thanks to God.
Yes, Christ gave us the Eucharist to unite with Him here on earth and we are created for this union. And nothing can replace receiving Jesus physically in the Eucharist.
But we cannot receive the Eucharist physically at every single moment of our day and in moments of trial and suffering when we long for it the most, like right now, we are unable.
In these moments, we can in a different way.
Jesus instructed us to give thanks throughout the Bible countless times over.
“I will give thanks to you Lord with all my heart” – Psalm 9:1
“I will give thanks to the Lord because of His righteousness” – Psalm 7:17
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give THANKS in all” – 1 Thessalonians 5:16
Jesus even led by example by thanking the Father and even right before, moments before, He gave us the Eucharist, He gave thanks.
“And He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it… This is my body given for you” – Luke 22:19
This could be why the Eucharist is so closely tied to gratitude.
I am filled with such JOY to think by saying a simple “thank you” to God, by lifting our hearts in praise to Him, we can receive the Eucharist in a simple, spiritual way.
It’s not that hard to say “thank you.” And yet it is so hard when we are torn down by struggles and pain every single day. It is hard to thank God for the ability to run and the beautiful sunshine when my lungs are bursting from the exercise. It is hard to thank God for my family, when I’m annoyed after being stuck inside too long.
But gratitude decreases our stress, lifts our mood, unites us to Christ, and fills us with His love and goodness, with EUCHARISTEO.