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St. Scholastica, Virgin

Reading I Kings 12:26-32;13:33-34
Gospel Mark 8:1-10

Then, taking the seven loaves He gave thanks....

That the miracle described in today’s Gospel account foreshadows the Sacrament of the Eucharist is clear. What could get overlooked, however, is an action of Jesus only briefly described in the midst of this miracle. The evangelist explains that “taking the seven loaves [Jesus] gave thanks, broke them, and gave them”.

Jesus’ act of giving thanks here is described by the evangelist with the Greek verb “eucharisteo”. It’s from this word that the English word “Eucharist” derives. Likely we think of the act of thanksgiving as being part of what the Eucharist is about, but it’s another thing to recognize that this most blessed of the seven sacraments is named after the very act of giving thanks.

In contrasting the four basic types of vocal prayer—petition, thanksgiving, contrition and adoration—thanksgiving is not the most selfless. Adoration focuses more solely on God in His own goodness. Thanksgiving regards what God has done for me, not purely for His own glory. Nonetheless, without thanksgiving, we cannot advance to prayer of adoration. Giving thanks for what God has done for one allows one to grow in the humility needed to adore God authentically.