Thanksgiving after Communion is a spiritual practice among Christians who believe in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist they receive during Holy Communion, maintaining themselves in prayer for some time to thank God for what they believe to be the great gift of receiving God Himself in person.
This practice was and is highly recommended by saints, theologians, and Doctors of the Church.
==Basis of the practice==
Jesus Christ, the founder of Christianity, said in the Bible that whoever receives him will obtain eternal life. This promise of everlasting life has urged Catholics throughout the centuries to strive to receive Christ in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. According to Catholic doctrine, bread is transubstantiated into the "Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ," whom Christians believe to be God Himself. The same with what appears to be wine, but in Catholic doctrine is also "the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ".
Since they believe that Jesus in person is present under the species of bread given to them as a Supreme Gift, Catholics have seen it fit to pray for some time in thanksgiving for this gift.
Thus, the Fathers of the Church have recommended this practice. St. John Chrysostom once explained that "when a person has eaten some delicious food at a banquet, he is careful not to take anything bitter in his mouth immediately after, lest he should lose the sweet flavour of those delicate viands. In like manner, when we have received the precious Body of Jesus Christ, we should take care not to lose its heavenly flavour by turning too soon to the cares and business of the world." ()
Fr. Michael Muller, CSSR, explained the basis thus: When the Blessed Virgin Mary visited St. Elizabeth, the aged Saint was astonished at the condescension of the glorious Mother of God, and said: "Whence is this to me, that the Mother of my God should come to me?" Now, in Holy Communion, it is the Lord Himself that comes to us, the Eternal "Wisdom which proceeded from the mouth of the Most High," the "Lord and Prince of the House of Israel, Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush," the "King of nations," "Emmanuel," "our King and Law-giver." To remain indifferent after having received the Blessed Eucharist is to show either a total want of faith or a levity and stupidity unworthy of a reasonable being. What a spectacle for the Angels, to see a creature approach that Sacred Host before which they bow in lowliest adoration and, when he has had the unutterable happiness of receiving his Redeemer, leave the church with as much unconcern as if he had but partaken of ordinary bread!
Saint Teresa of Ávila, Doctor of the Church, says that there is no other time than thanksgiving after Mass when Christians can so easily enrich their soul with virtues, or so rapidly advance to a high degree of perfection. "There is no prayer more agreeable to God, or more profitable to the soul," said another Doctor of the Church, St. Alphonsus Liguori, "than that which is made during the thanksgiving after Communion."
Thus, the Baltimore Catechism states:
:Q. 913. What should we do after Holy Communion?
:A. After Holy Communion we should spend some time in adoring Our Lord, in thanking Him for the grace we have received, and in asking Him for the blessings we need.
The Catholic Church has officially recommended this practice in the ''Instruction Concerning Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery (Inaestimabile Donum)'', prepared by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, approved and confirmed by His Holiness Pope John Paul II on 17 April 1980:
:"The faithful are to be recommended not to omit to make a proper thanksgiving after Communion. They may do this during the celebration with a period of silence, with a hymn, psalm or other song of praise, or also after the celebration, if possible by staying behind to pray for a suitable time" (''(Inaestimabile Donum, )'' 17).
"Thanksgiving after Mass has traditionally been greatly esteemed in the Church for both the priest and the lay faithful," said Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments in 2003. "The missal and the breviary even suggest prayers for the priest before and after the Eucharistic celebration. There is no reason to believe that this is no longer needed. Indeed in our noisy world of today, such moments of reflective and loving prayers would seem indicated more than even before. ()
Pope Benedict XVI in ''Sacramentum Caritatis'' referred to the "precious time of thanksgiving after communion", urging everyone to preserve the importance of communion as "a personal encounter with the Lord Jesus in the sacrament." He recommended that during this time "it can also be most helpful to remain recollected in silence." "I heartily recommend to the Church's pastors and to the People of God the practice of eucharistic adoration, both individually and in community." (''(Sacramentum Caritatis, )'' 50)
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