Thursday, December 10, 2015

Every Christian ought to prepare for holy communion in order to obtain mercy and forgiveness.

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (Jn. 3:14 ). And just as all who were bitten by the serpents and looked upon the suspended brass serpent were healed, likewise every Christian who believes in our Christ and hastens to His life-bearing wounds (by eating His Flesh and drinking His all-holy Blood ), is cured from the bites of the spiritual serpent of sin. By this most holy nourishment, he is given life unto renewal in a new creation, that is, a new life in conformity with His life-giving commandments. Oh, how essential it is for us in every way to approach this heavenly banquet, which this supernatural mystery of the Holy Table provides for us! 

The angels stand by invisibly. With utmost reverence the priests, who at this moment of the mystery are more honored than the angels, sacrifice the blameless Lamb. The angels minister and the faithful approach to eat and drink the Body and Blood of Christ: “Partake of the Body of Christ; taste of the fountain of immortality” to live in Christ and not die in sin. Therefore, “let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup”, according to the divine Apostle, because “he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner, eats and drinks judgment to himself. 

For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord” (cf. 1 Cor. 11:28-32 ). When someone wants to present himself to the king, he prepares himself for days—that is, with an overall preparation in cleanliness, speech, approach, manners, and so on—to attract the king’s sympathy and thus obtain the desired request. 

Corresponding to the incomparable difference between the two kings, every Christian ought to prepare for holy communion in order to obtain mercy and forgiveness. Cunning, flattery, affectation, and lies often adorn someone who approaches an earthly king so that he may obtain what he wants. Whereas holiness, a humble spirit, and simplicity of soul—which is more precious than perishable gold—must adorn the faithful Christian approaching the King of kings, Who looks upon the inner man. 

Let us also prepare ourselves with purified intellects, and, aspiring to the mortification of our senses from the passions, let us enter together with the holy Apostles into the Mystical Supper in purity, and let us partake of our sweet Jesus, so that He may abide with us unto the endless ages of ages. Amen; so be it!

Elder Ephraim of Arizona