Monday, 21 October 2013


What is the Greek word for "Thank you"?

That's right. It's eucharisto ( ευχαριστώ ).

Last June when I went to Greece, I found myself saying "eucharisto!" casually to people, from immigration personnels to Orthodox nuns, from the hotel concierge to icon sellers. I couldn't shake the image of that round white bread the Papists worship every time I said the word. The image of the Blessed Sacrament automatically popped up when I bought a water bottle, an icon, a ticket, tissue paper, and an embarrassing amount of postcards.

Having the root word for the Holy Eucharist in one's language is a tremendous blessing in itself. One is able to frequently lift up his mind to the heavens whenever he receives something. Through the word "eucharisto", we are reminded that an object as humble as a shoestring or as noble as a crown, comes from God Himself. We are all recipients of God's generous gift. When we give, it is because we first received, we love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

In the simplest "thank you", even in a passing one, the speaker—the receiver of the gift—acknowledges the gift's worth compared to his own unworthiness. A reward is something given justly according to one's merit, but a gift—what is a gift but something given to an unworthy recipient?

What is, then, a better focus of thanksgiving than the Paschal Victim, humbly hidden in the lowly bread? It is from this Ultimate Gift that all other gifts flow.

How lucky are the Greeks!


Image: "Heavenwards", by Sophie Anderson

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