The Holy Eucharist is the Mystery of Mysteries
The Holy Eucharist is the source of our sacramental life within the Church of Christ precisely because through the Eucharist we are joined to Christ crucified, and to His holy resurrection and ascension. It is through this Holy Mystery of the Eucharist that we are joined to the uncreated and divine grace and energies of God Himself.
Christ told us that “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him” (John 3:56). In fact, the very reason for Christ’s Incarnation was that the God Who created the universe desires to unite Himself to His creation, and has invited us into communion with Him.
At the Mystical Supper in the Upper Room Jesus gave a dramatically new meaning to the food and drink of the sacred meal. He identified Himself with the bread and wine: “Take, eat; this is my Body. Drink of it all of you; for this is my Blood of the New Covenant” (Matthew 26:26-28).
Food had always sustained the earthly existence of everyone, but in the Eucharist the Lord gave us a distinctively unique human food – bread and wine – that by the power of the Holy Spirit, has become our gift of life. Consecrated and sanctified, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. This change is not physical but mystical and sacramental. While the qualities of the bread and wine remain, we partake of the true Body and Blood of Christ. In the eucharistic meal God enters into such a communion of life that He feeds humanity with His own being, while still remaining distinct. In the words of St. Maximos the Confessor, Christ, “transmits to us divine life, making Himself eatable.” The Author of life shatters the limitations of our createdness. Christ acts so that “we might become sharers of divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4).
From the moment Christ instituted this Mystery, the Eucharist became the center of the Church’s life, and her most profound prayer. The Eucharist is both the source and the summit of our life in Christ. It is in the sacraments and especially the Eucharist that the Church is changed from a mere human community into the Body of Christ, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, and the People of God. The Eucharist is the pre-eminent sacrament, as it completes all the others and recapitulates the entire economy of salvation. Through the Eucharist our new life in Christ is renewed and increased. The Eucharist imparts life and the life it gives is the life of God.
With love in Christ,
Photos: 1) The celebration of the Divine Liturgy for the Feast of the Ascension. 2) Two young men, both named Moses, and members of Annunciation Orthodox Church in Milwaukie, Oregon, spent a few days in the monastery this past week.
Saturday June 8, 2019 / May 26, 2019
Afterfeast of the Ascension. Tone five.
Apostles Carpus of the Seventy and Alphaeus (1st c.).
Translation of the relics (1534) of New Martyr George of Kratovo and Sofia (1515).
Uncovering of the relics (1521) of Venerable Macarius, abbot of Kolyazin (1483).
Martyrs Abercius and Helen, children of Apostle Alphaeus (1st c.).
Venerable John of Psichaita the Confessor of Constantinople (9th c.).
New Martyr Alexander of Thessalonica, who suffered at Smyrna (1794) (Greek).
Icon of the Mother of God of Vladimir of Seligersk.
St. Augustine of Canterbury, evangelizer of England (ca. 605) (Celtic & British).
New Hieromartyrs Milan Banjac and Milan Golubovic of Drvar, Serbia (1941-1945).
The Scripture Readings
Ministering at Troas
7 Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight. 8 There were many lamps in the upper room where they were gathered together. 9 And in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep. He was overcome by sleep; and as Paul continued speaking, he fell down from the third story and was taken up dead. 10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” 11 Now when he had come up, had broken bread and eaten, and talked a long while, even till daybreak, he departed. 12 And they brought the young man in alive, and they were not a little comforted.
10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on My own authority;but the Father who dwells in Me does the works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.
The Answered Prayer
12 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. 13 And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
Jesus Promises Another Helper
15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16 And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.
Indwelling of the Father and the Son
19 “A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also. 20 At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”