Always and Everywhere to Give You Thanks – Eucharist
In his autobiographical work The Seven Storey Mountain Thomas Merton recounts an experience he had while in New York in late August and early September 1939. It was a time of great tension and foreboding, he recalls, even in that “toughest of cities”, as Europe moved ever closer to war. On his way to Mass on the first Friday of September he heard the news that German planes had bombed Warsaw. What struck him about the Mass (it was a High Mass) was that at the heart of it, even on that day, the priest still sang: “Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere …”
“Always and everywhere to give you thanks.” Why is this so? Why is the central prayer of the central act of the Church always one of thanksgiving, even in such a dire situation, even in the circumstances in which I write this today, as the whole world struggles to deal with the inexorable spread of the coronavirus?