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First Century Eucharistic Thanksgiving Prayer April 13, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, Eucharist, General Catholic, Tradition, Virtue.

The Didache is a first century treatise written by the Twelve Apostles(including, I guess, Matthias) and that many early Fathers of the Church held as being next to Sacred Scripture in terms of holiness and usefulness in guiding souls in the Life of Grace.   It contains much guidance on things such as the early Rite of Baptism as well as doctrinal formulations in a primitive state (you can see one version of the complete text here).  Fr. John Hardon’s Catholic Prayer Book contains a first century Eucharistic Prayer taken from the Didache that I think is very beautiful – especially the ending.  I thought you might enjoy it as well.  This is from sections IX and X of the Didache:

We give You thanks, Father, for the holy vine of David your son, which You have made known to us through Jesus, Your Son. [This establishes the connection between Old and New Covenants right away] To You be the glory for evermore.

We give You thanks, our Father, for the life and knowledge which You have made knwon to us through Jesus, Your Son. To You be the glory for evermore.

As this broken bread was scattered over the hills [a reference to the feeding of the 5000?] and then, when gathered, become one Mass [I love this apparent connection between the feeding of the 5000 and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass], so may Your Church be gathered from the ends of the earth into Your Kingdom. For Yours is the glory and power through Jesus Christ for evermore.

We give You thanks, O Holy Father, for Your Holy Name which You have enshrined in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which You have made known to us through Jesus, Your Son. To You be the glory for evermore.

You, Lord Almighty, have created all things for the sake of Your Name, and have given food and drink for men to enjoy, that they may give thanks to You.  But to us You have vouchsafed spiritual Food and Drink and eternal life, through Your Son.  [As we see from St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch, and later in St. Justin Martyr, the Real Presence in the Eucharist was a constant belief of the Church from its earliest days.  The Didache is thought to have been written sometime around AD 70 or perhaps a bit earlier – easily within living memory of Our Lord Incarnate on earth.]

Above all, we give You thanks because You are mighty.  To You be the glory for evermore.

Remember, O Lord, Your Church.  Deliver Her from all evil. Perfect Her in love, and from the four winds assemble Her, the sanctified, in Your Kingdom which You have prepared for Her. [I love this imagery of the Church assembling from the four winds, or corners, of the earth.  The Gospel has been preached to all corners of the earth, but so many have not heard, or refused to hear, the call.  One of the pre-conditions for the Parousia established in the Apocalypse of St. John is the Gospel being preached throughout the world]

May Grace come, and this world pass away. [Even in the earliest days of the Church – or, perhaps, especially then, there was a focus on the fact that our life here is short and troubled, and our “real life” is the life we will enter into after death.  That is where we should put our store, in Heaven, where rust does not destroy and moth does not consume, but glory reigns forever] Hosanna to the God of David.  If anyone is holy, let him advance.  If anyone is not, let him be converted. [Don’t receive the Blessed Sacrament unworthily] Lord come.  Amen.

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I generally say this prayer after Mass in thanksgiving for having received My Lord in the most intimate way possible.  It is critical to note that we must always have many prayerful intentions when we present ourselves to receive Our Lord in the Eucharist, and then afterwards to have great thanksgiving for the awesome, indescribable Gift we have received.

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