Prayer of Thanksgiving After Communion: "I thank Thee, O Lord my God, that Thou hast not rejected me, a sinner, but hast vouchsafed me to become a communicant of Thy holy things. I thank Thee that Thou hast vouchsafed me, the unworthy, to partake of Thine immaculate and heavenly gifts. But, O Master Who lovest mankind, Who didst both die for us and rise again and didst bestow upon us these Thy dread and life-giving mysteries for the benefiting and sanctification of our souls and bodies: Grant that they may be for me also unto healing of soul and body, unto the averting of everything contrary thereto, unto the enlightenment of the eyes of my heart, unto the peace of my spiritual powers, unto faith unashamed, unto love unfeigned, unto increase of wisdom, unto the fulfillment of Thy commandments, unto growth in Thy divine grace and the attainment of Thy kingdom, that, preserved by them in Thy holiness, I may ever remember Thy grace and henceforth live not unto myself, but unto Thee, our Master and Benefactor. And thus, when this life is ended in the hope of eternal life, I may attain unto everlasting rest, where the voice of those who keep festival is unceasing and the delight of those who behold the ineffable beauty of Thy countenance is boundless; for Thou art the true Desire and unutterable Joy of those who love Thee, O Christ our God, and all creation hymneth Thee forever. Amen." - Anonymous
Just wanted to share one of my favorite prayers from the ancient faith. This is a prayer to say after receiving Holy Communion. The first time I ever read this prayer, the line, "Grant that they may be for me also unto healing of soul and body" really struck me. Until I entered the Orthodox Church, it never occurred to me that the Lord's Supper was anything more than a reverent symbolic way to remember Christ's sacrifice. But in truth, according to church history, the Eucharist (meaning, giving thanks) has been celebrated as a sacrament (a way in which we receive God's abundant grace) since the earliest centuries and is still recognized as such in the Orthodox, Catholic and some Protestant churches.
Now, some years later, another phrase stands out to me, "...and thus, when this life is ended in the hope of eternal life, I may attain unto everlasting rest, where the voice of those who keep festival is unceasing and the delight of those who behold the ineffable beauty of Thy countenance is boundless.." Can you even imaging that?! What a heart-warming image!
I've been thinking so much of Izzy, my young niece who was reborn to the Kingdom of God in 2012, and her last days on this earth. I often contemplate what she must have seen as she reached her arms up to that receiving angel who carried her to the dwelling place of God. The Kingdom of Heaven is so near to us, only a thin veil away, as my grandmother would say. I know Izzy'svoice is added to those "keeping festival" with great joy and thanksgiving, giving praise to the Creator! Perhaps she is praying for my soul, too.
What beauty awaits us... what light and love does God provide for His children.