Venerable Bruno’s method: Thanksgiving

Note: Part 16 on a series on the Mass.  Read the first part here. For an overview of Venerable Bruno’s method, go here.  For a PDF of the method, click here.  For Fr. Tim Gallagher’s explanation of the steps, buy the book at his website or the Oblates’ bookstore.

Venerable Bruno Lanteri recommends these sentiments in his Spiritual Directory, “During the thanksgiving, I will adore him.”

Background: Extraordinary Form of the Mass
(Tridentine Mass)

Because Venerable Bruno wrote his preparation for the Tridentine Mass, it would be good to see what is going on at this point in the extraordinary form of the Mass.

Venerable Bruno imagined that the priest would put away his liturgical clothing after Mass. He would pray in a pew for some time of thanksgiving to the Lord. Then, he would leave the church to continue his priestly duties.

Lesson: Do I thank God often?

The danger for Catholics today is to shove the experience of the Mass into a box and think no more of it. But the Mass has changed us when we received Jesus’ Body and Blood in Holy Communion. We were changed into Him.  We can praise like He does and ask the Father like He does. With such a gift, shouldn’t we thank God for that? Venerable Bruno Lanteri recommends that during the thanksgiving, we should adore him.

Venerable Bruno dedicates the most amount of space for this step. Here is his full text of thanksgiving:

“During the thanksgiving I will adore him, prostrate in my nothingness. I will invite two at a time the Choirs of Angels to adore him and thank him with me. I will ask for an outpouring of graces, not a few, but many and great, since they come from God, especially the grace to fulfill my vows, and to practice virtue. Then I will pray for other particular and general needs, especially for the Amicizia. Finally I will consecrate myself totally to him in body and soul, and I will ask his blessing and strengthening before I go forth from the church. I will especially recommend sinners to him.”

The size of the step might scare people away. But the step can be divided in three sections:

Adoration

During the thanksgiving I will adore him, prostrate in my nothingness.
I will invite two at a time the Choirs of Angels to adore him and thank him with me.

It’s interesting that Venerable Bruno invites the angels to praise the Lord. He is very aware that he cannot give sufficient thanks to God by himself. We all must be reminded that this world expands beyond the material into the spiritual. God gave us spiritual friends, the angels (and also the saints), to help us.

Personal needs

I will ask for an outpouring of graces, not a few, but many and great, since they come from God,
especially the grace to fulfill my vows, and to practice virtue. …
Finally I will consecrate myself totally to him in body and soul,
and I will ask his blessing and strengthening before I go forth from the church.

Venerable Bruno alternates between the next two sections. First deals with personal needs. With childlike trust, he asks for numerous and powerful graces. In particular, he asks for help to fulfill his priestly vows. Whatever state of life we’re in (single, married, consecrated, religious or priest), we are never alone in living out our vows. Jesus is with us now to empower us. The next particular grace is to practice virtue. We should foster those habits that allow us to do the good.

When he returns back to his personal needs, Venerable Bruno gives himself completely to God. This repeats and reaffirms the priestly self-giving at the consecration of the Mass. All of us Christians should renew the various devotional consecrations to Jesus through Mary, Joseph or the Holy Spirit. Aware of the difficulties beyond the church doors, Venerable Bruno seeks God’s blessing and strength. When we bless ourselves with holy water when we leave church, do we ask for that same blessing and strength. It can be a short prayer: “Jesus, give me your blessing and strength.”

Needs of others

Then I will pray for other particular and general needs, especially for the Amicizia. …
I will especially recommend sinners to him.

Venerable Bruno next looks outward to the needs of others (parish, neighborhood, city, state, country, world). He especially prays for those under his care as shepherd of souls, Amicizia Christiana (Christian Friendship). The Amicizia were groups of men and women charged with spreading good books. What group do you volunteer for? Do you pray for your colleagues’ needs?

The very end of the step is a prayer for sinners. In a world that grows farther away from God, do we take time to pray for the conversion of sinners? Nobody is far from God’s love and mercy. Offer them up to God that their hearts might be open to His ever-welcoming grace.

The versatility of this step

Even when we break down this step, we might not have time to do all of it. But the beauty of this step is that it can be done anywhere, anytime for any amount of time. It does not need to be at a church. We can pause during work and have spiritual communion with Jesus in a tabernacle somewhere in the world. In that short moment, we can thank Him. Sometimes, we seek help for ourselves or for others.

Holy Mother Church already offers tools to help us with this final step of Venerable Bruno’s method. One is the Liturgy of the Hours. Praying the Psalms at certain times of day extends the Mass and sanctifies the day. Another is the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Jesus told St. Faustina that the chaplet is the most powerful prayer. That’s because the chaplet extends the grace and mercy of the Mass, which is the most powerful prayer in the Church. Another helpful tool is the Examen. With Jesus, we see where we can thank Him for the gifts of the day, where we encountered him, where we need help, where others need help and how we can do better.

Always remember the gifts you received at Mass.  Do it during the week.  It can be long or short to pray and ponder about them. When we remember the gifts, we can thank the giver, God.

Scripture passages for prayer:

  1. Psalm 148: The psalmist tells the angels to praise the Lord.
  2. Luke 11:5-13: Jesus gives a parable about persistence in prayer for our needs.
  3. 1 Timothy 2:1-2: Paul asks that we pray for all men and leaders.

Reflection questions:

  1. What things are you grateful for to God today?
  2. What graces do you seek from God?
  3. What people need your prayers right now?

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