When Grace Compels, and Causes Us to Act.
Devotional Thought of the Day:
3 Restore us, God; make your face shine on us, so that we may be saved. Psalm 80:3 (CSBBible)
It is also necessary to make a thanksgiving after Communion. There is no prayer more dear to God than that which is made after Communion. We must occupy this time in acts of love and prayers. The devout acts of love which we then make have greater merit in the sight of God than those which we make at other times, because they are then animated by the presence of Jesus Christ, who is united to our souls.
As a Lutheran, I am well attuned to the fact that we are saved as God’s gift to us. There is not one thing we must do to be saved. God will hear our cry, just as He heard the Psalmist. Heaven isn’t a reward for good people, it is a place of rest that God prepared for the sinners, for the broken, for those that found their only hope – is found in Him.
So when a religious writer says that we must do something, that it is “necessary”, I take a step back. I look at why it is necessary, why we must do this thing. Is it to impress God that He might save us? Is it to earn His admiration? Or is there something that has happened, that compels us to respond with thanks, praise, and even adoration?
30 years ago, this summer, I died. I experienced a cardia arrest and had to be shocked 5 times. Before the fire department arrived and rendered that aid, a lady did CPR on me. She was the secretary to the Dean of Students. When I asked if there was anything that I could do to show her my thanks, she indicated no, there was not. That bothered me, and in a way it still does. I had a need to show my thanks, I felt compelled to do so.
That feeling is what I believe de Liguori means when he says it is necessary. Someone saved you, He revived you, He brings you healing, and in the celebration of that, how do you not give Him thanks?
I would disagree with de Liguori’s pronouncement of those prayers being more meritorious, for I believe it is not about merit, nor value, but the fellowship. Certainly, we should be aware of the presence of Christ as we share in the Eucharist. But that awareness should be remembered and realized throughout the week. And anytime we experience that love, as we realize our deliverance, as we see what God is saving us from, we must respond… with thanks, praise, and adoring the one who saved us.
Alphonsus de Liguori, The Holy Eucharist, ed. Eugene Grimm, The Complete Works of Saint Alphonsus de Liguori (New York; London; Dublin; Cincinnati; St. Louis: Benziger Brothers; R. Washbourne; M. H. Gill & Son, 1887), 227.