суббота, 3 октября 2009 г.

ON HOLY COMMUNION. Anthony of Sourozh.

Metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh
                     ON HOLY COMMUNION
                           ----


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


Through  living  the  whole  life  of the church, and pre-eminently by
Communion  in  the Holy Mysteries, we seek participation in the common
life  with Christ the Saviour. Living in the church, being the body of
Christ  in  the  midst  of the world, being the presence of the living
Christ  incarnate  through  us,  being  the  lodging place of the Holy
Spirit,  His Temple, being children of the heavenly Father in the most
literal  and  unconditional  sense, this is precisely what we seek, to
make our life one with Christ.


What  does  this  mean?  When  we come to Holy Communion we ask and we
dream  that  eternal  life,  with  its  light, its joy, and its solemn
victory  should be actualised in us. And we often forget that on earth
Christ's victory was concealed. Yes, the whole fullness of the Godhead
dwelt  among  us  physically, but how hidden it was! How much grief of
body  and  soul  Christ  as a man lived through, how many times people
went past Him not seeing God in Him, and only hearing words - for them
frighteningly incomprehensible and unacceptable, about such love as we
wish  for  ourselves,  but  which we are so rarely prepared to give to
others. And so, when we partake of the Holy Mysteries, when we wish to
live the life of the church, we should remember that we are asking for
communion  to  the  whole  life  of Christ and to His mysterious, deep
relationship with the Father; to the breath of the Holy Spirit, and to
that eternal, unconquerable purity.


But together with this, we should be prepared to share the fate of the
Saviour  on  earth.  He came to His own, and His own did not recognise
Him;  He  preached love, and people ran away from this love in terror,
because  love  demanded  the  rejection of self. Each of His words was
both life and temptation, and therefore a judgement on each man and on
the  world.  And in answer to love, and in answer to the truth, and in
answer  to  the  fact  that  in boundless love God had wished to dwell
amidst His people and share all with them, Christ was rejected. But in
Him love did not falter. He gave up His life; people thought they were
taking  it away, but He freely gave it up. We too are called to do the
same  thing  by partaking of the Holy Mysteries, by our communion with
the  church,  by  reason of our love towards Christ, feeble though, it
may  be.  And  when we shall seek not only heaven, joy and protection,
but a fully common life and full communion with Him, and when like Him
we shall be ready to carry the cross together with Him - not just what
we  call  our  cross,  the troubles of life, our personal sorrows, our
illnesses,-  but  His cross which means suffering with all who suffer,
with  each  and  all  who  are  perishing  in  sin: only then will the
Saviour's prayer be fulfilled that His joy should be fully realised in
us.


If  we so long for communion with Christ that we are prepared to share
His  cross on earth, then on earth we shall already have shared in His
sonhood  and in the victory of love. May the Lord give us courage, may
He  make  us understand that Christ called us to live upon earth as He
lived. He did not come to suffer torment for our sake in order that we
might  live  according  to our own senseless sinful will. And then our
Communion  with  Him  must  be  full.  But we must begin with this, to
acquire the mind of Christ on earth. When His disciples asked, begged,
prayed  that  He should grant them to sit on His right hand and on His
left  hand  in the Kingdom of Heaven, He said: "Are you ready to drink
of  the  cup  which I shall drink, are you prepared to be plunged into
that  horror  into which I shall be plunged?" And they answered; "Yes,
we  are." And then the Saviour said these words to them which He still
repeats  to  us  when we share the cup of life with Him, He told them.
"You  shall  indeed  drink  of  the cup which I shall drink. You shall
indeed  be  baptised  with the baptism wherewith I am baptised, but to
judge who shall sit on my right hand and on my left is not given to Me
but to the Father."


If  our  love is real, if we love Him, if we have learned from Him how
to  love,  if  we  could  only  truly  share  with  Him His whole life
beginning with the cross, should we not then understand that it is too
soon  to begin to think about where we shall sit, whether on His right
or  His  left,  whether far or near? And should we not then be able to
entrust  ourselves  with  complete confidence in the love of the Lord?
Amen.



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