суббота, 22 августа 2009 г.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh.WEEKLY WE COME TO CHURCH

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
                  WEEKLY WE COME TO CHURCH
                      23 August, 1987
                           ----


In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.


After  a  week  which we spend in the twilight of the world, where the
powers  of  good  and  the  powers of evil are in contest, when we are
called  to  be  the  light  of  the  world, the salt that prevents its
corruption, a living message that God has come, that victory over evil
is won, and all hopes are possible, indeed all things are in the power
of  the  Lord Jesus Christ who is our strength ≈ after a whole week in
this  twilight  we  come to church, and it is a moment when two things
should happen.


It  is a moment when we re-dedicate ourselves to God, because we bring
at  the  same  time in the Holy Liturgy two kinds of gifts. On the one
hand,  the  offering  of  our  souls and bodies, the gift of ourselves
which  should  be unreserved, which we give according to our strength,
but  a  strength  that  should  grow  day after day by the exercise of
loyalty and faithfulness to God. And we also bring to God a sacrifice,
an offering so holy and so perfect, the life and the death of the Lord
Jesus  Christ, His Resurrection and His Ascension into Heaven, and the
vision  of  what  we  are  called  to be ≈ all of us together with all
things created. Because it is not only mankind whom God has assumed in
Christ  through  the  Incarnation  ≈  it  is  all  things  visible and
invisible;  the  invisible through His Divinity in the human soul, and
the  visible  by  His  Incarnation,  by  God taking flesh and becoming
mysteriously  and  wonderfully  akin to all that is material, visible,
tangible.  All  creation,  not only saints and sinners, but all things
created  can look at Christ's Body and rejoice because in Him they can
see themselves in glory.


When we come to God we expect a gift of grace, the power of life to be
poured  into us so that we should become truly new creatures; not only
creatures of flesh and blood, not only created beings standing face to
face  with their Creator but also creatures, pervaded by the power and
the  presence, the true communion with God which is given to us in the
Sacraments.


It  is  only  to the extent to which we bring ourselves as an offering
(let  it  be  earthen vessels open to receive things Holy) that we can
receive   these   Holy   things.  In  the  prayer  that  precedes  the
consecration  of the Holy Gifts the priest says: ╚Renew us who pray to
Thee, and make this bread the Body of Christ, and this cup ≈ the Blood
of Christ╩. It is only to the extent to which we give ourselves to God
to  be  filled,  to  the extent which we empty ourselves of all things
contrary  to  Him, in intention, at least in the struggle which should
be ours, that we can receive the gift.


But  this gift is not given to us alone; it is not given to us that we
should hug it, possess it, delight in it: it is given to us in the way
in which a lamp is lit, in which a fire is lighted, in which the truth
is given. Thanks be to God ≈ we are not a body of people, prisoners of
our  buildings  and  our  small frail Christian society! We are indeed
sent  into  the  world to be God's own witnesses, through Communion to
the  Body  and  Blood  of Christ to be His incarnate presence. When we
receive  Communion  we expect all things from God, but He also expects
all things from us.


Let  us  ponder on this. Let us receive with an open heart and an open
mind,  with  all our being, what God gives us, not in order to possess
it  but  in  order  to  give it, to give it as generously as God gives
Himself:   life   and   death,   our   joy   and   our   sorrow,   our
broken-heartedness  and  our  hopes ≈ all to be given in God's Name to
anyone  who needs it. Then we shall have fulfilled the Apostle's call:
╚Carry  one another's burdens, and so you shall have fulfilled the law
of Christ╩. Amen.



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