Have you ever thought about why we say ‘thanks be to God’ at Mass after the non-Gospel readings and after the end-of-Mass dismissal command, “Go..”?
Essentially the phrase, Deo gratias, is an acclamation of gratitude for what has just been received. So, after the proclamation of God’s Word we give thanks for having received that Word; and at the end of the Liturgy we give thanks for having received its innumerable graces.
What is the usefulness of giving thanks? Fundamentally, it reflects and creates in us some very important Christian attitudes. Giving thanks allows us to see that all things are an undeserved gift given by God out of sheer love, i.e. for our benefit. Giving thanks opens in us a posture of humility before that which we have received, allowing God’s grace to shape and mold and form us. Giving thanks makes us aware that we are stewards, not owners of what we have received, and that the ‘use’ we make of what we have been given will constitute the very substance of our judgment before Christ on the Last Day. And lastly, giving thanks opens in us a world of wonder and awe at the greatness of God and his manifold gifts of creation and redemption.
So next time you stumble @ Mass on the words, ‘Thanks be to God,’ allow them to transform your mind and heart to receive Christ, the impact of God, more fully. The people around you will be grateful you did…