Communing from the Body and Blood of the Master during the period of spiritual combat
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts is attributed to Saint Gregory the Dialogist († 604), Pope of Rome, but in actuality, it is not the work of one individual, but is a composite work coming down to us from Holy Tradition.
The Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts, which consists of the Service of Vespers and the Communion of the Faithful with the Holy Gifts. It is commonly celebrated daily in monastic communities, and on Wednesdays and Fridays in parishes, with Holy Bread—that is, the Body of Christ—which has been intincted in the Holy Blood and consecrated at the preceding complete Liturgies on Saturdays or Sundays. The Presanctified or “abridged” Divine Liturgy (since it is affixed to Vespers), is normally celebrated in the late afternoon, when Christians, having fasted until that time, commune, afterwards eating a meal of dry foodstuffs (dried fruits and nuts).
The celebration of the Divine Liturgy, because it is festive and Resurrectional in character, is not allowed during Great Lent and the somber period of the fast, according to ancient tradition and the forty-ninth Canon of the Synod of in Laodiceia . However, from their side, the faithful children of the Church, engaged in the abstemious struggle of the Great Fast and having a clear and particular need for reinforcement by the Holy Mysteries during this period of intensive spiritual combat, desired to commune as often as they could, since Holy Communion was indeed their life and sustenance.
For this reason, so that the faithful not be deprived of the Holy Eucharist on the weekdays of the Great Fast, but that they might be able to commune from the Presanctified Holy Bread [the Body if Christ], the Church, by way of the fifty-first Canon of the Fifth-Sixth [Quinisext] Synod , appointed that the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts take place on the weekdays of the Great Fast.
Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite [† 1809], in his Rudder, citing the Byzantine canonologist Matthew Blastaris [fl. 14th cenury], reminds us that the faithful resemble wrestlers, and just as wrestlers cease their matches in the afternoon to take nourishment in order to strengthen themselves for the upcoming bout, so the faithful commune from the Body and Blood of the Master during the period of spiritual combat in the Great Fast, that they might be reinvigorated and reinforced by the Lord, thus to continue their match against the passions and the spiritual enmity of the devil with renewed powers and more valorously.
With love in Christ,
Tuesday March 12, 2019 / February 27, 2019
First Week of the Great Lent. Tone eight.
Great Lent. By Monastic Charter: Strict Fast (Bread, Vegetables, Fruits)
Venerable Procopius the Confessor of Decapolis (ca. 750).
New Hieromartyr Sergius priest (1932).
New Hieromartyr Peter priest, Martyr Michael (1938).
Venerable Titus, presbyter of the Kiev Caves (1190).
Venerable Titus the Soldier, monk of the Kiev Caves (14th c.).
Venerable Thalelaeus, hermit of Syria (460).
Martyr Gelasius the Actor of Heliopolis (297).
Venerable Stephen, monk of Constantinople (614) (Greek).
Venerables Asclepius and James of Syria, monks (5th c.) (Greek).
Venerable Timothy of Caesarea, monk (Greek).
Martyr Nesius (Greek).
Martyrs Julian and his disciple Chroniun at Alexandria (250-252).
St. Macarius, bishop of Jerusalem (333).
St. Pitirim, bishop of Tambov (1698).
New Martyr Elias of Trebizond (1749).
St. Herefrith, bishop of Lincolnshire.
The Scripture Readings
19 If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the good of the land;
20 But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword”;
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
The Degenerate City
21 How the faithful city has become a harlot!
It was full of justice;
Righteousness lodged in it,
But now murderers.
22 Your silver has become dross,
Your wine mixed with water.
23 Your princes are rebellious,
And companions of thieves;
Everyone loves bribes,
And follows after rewards.
They do not defend the fatherless,
Nor does the cause of the widow come before them.
24 Therefore the Lord says,
The Lord of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel,
“Ah, I will rid Myself of My adversaries,
And take vengeance on My enemies.
25 I will turn My hand against you,
And thoroughly purge away your dross,
And take away all your alloy.
26 I will restore your judges as at the first,
And your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness, the faithful city.”
27 Zion shall be redeemed with justice,
And her penitents with righteousness.
28 The destruction of transgressors and of sinners shall be together,
And those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
29 For they shall be ashamed of the terebinth trees
Which you have desired;
And you shall be embarrassed because of the gardens
Which you have chosen.
30 For you shall be as a terebinth whose leaf fades,
And as a garden that has no water.
31 The strong shall be as tinder,
And the work of it as a spark;
Both will burn together,
And no one shall quench them.
The Future House of God
2 The word that Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the Lord’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 Then God said, “Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.” 21 So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 And God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.” 23 So the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
The Call of Wisdom
20 Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.
21 She cries out in the chief concourses,
At the openings of the gates in the city
She speaks her words:
22 “How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge.
23 Turn at my rebuke;
Surely I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused,
I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded,
25 Because you disdained all my counsel,
And would have none of my rebuke,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when your terror comes,
27 When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction comes like a whirlwind,
When distress and anguish come upon you.
28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer;
They will seek me diligently, but they will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
And did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 They would have none of my counsel
And despised my every rebuke.
31 Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way,
And be filled to the full with their own fancies.
32 For the turning away of the simple will slay them,
And the complacency of fools will destroy them;
33 But whoever listens to me will dwell safely,
And will be secure, without fear of evil.”