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by Fr. Dmitri, New Zealand
Saturday 15 May 2010 (7 Pachons; 7 Bashans)
Christ has Ascended!
Thou art the exaltation of Jerusalem, thou art the
great glory of Israel, thou art the great rejoicing of our Nation.
Jesus did not order us to pray using ten thousand sentences.
He told us to use one continuous supplication. 'Lord Jesus Christ
have mercy upon me, a sinner.'
Constant Prayer is a fortress for humility.
(Hegumen Pishoy Kamel)
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will
take care of itself.
In praising Athanasius, I shall be praising virtue. To speak of
him and to praise virtue are identical.
The righteous souls realized the remedy of life
is in the Son, so they longed for His coming while
still alive, so they may taste its sweetness.
(St. Ephrem the Syrian)
Repentance is the freedom from slavery of sin and the devil.
(Pope Shenouda III)
The Lord leads us to paradise and to His Father saying.
'I am the Way and the Door and through Me everybody should enter.'
(Athanasius the Apostolic)
Train yourself to say the truth, and you will
find hidden within yourself, the righteousness of life.
(Spiritual Elder John Saba)
Those who want to prevent their heart from being
pervaded by the evils of earth should entrust it to
Our Lord Jesus Christ. They will then regain it in
heaven, freed from all evils.
Lord Jesus, move us to entrust our hearts and affections
to You. Grant that Your prayers may keep us from all
evil and firmly attached to You. forever.
(Francis de Sales)
" I am that living bread which has come down from heaven; if anyone eats this bread he shall live forever. Moreover, the bread which I will give is my own flesh; I give it for the life of the world." (John 6:51)
This led to a fierce dispute among the Jews. 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?' they said. Jesus replied, 'In truth, in very truth I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His Blood you can have no life in you. Whoever eats My Flesh and drinks My blood possesses eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.'
'I am the living bread which has come down from heaven.' How apt this is at this Paschal Season. How often we think of hot cross buns. This is a physical bread. Here we see Christ making use of the Scriptures to support his statements. He refers to this passage in Exodus 16:4, 'The Lord said to Moses - I will rain down bread from heaven for you.' Here God was supplying the wants of Israel of old in the Wilderness of Sin.
Like the Manna-bread of old Christ says He is the real Manna. You could quite easily equate it with the Old Testament Scene by saying that here God's goodness was manifest to those who were travelling a Spiritual Wilderness and were dying for want of food and God gives the answer in Christ; 'The Living Manna.'
He is so, first by the incarnation: His whole teaching and life and grace is the bread we need. He is the Good Shepherd who knows His sheep and instructed Peter to feed His lambs. Secondly he is the Real Manna through the Blessed Sacrament, in which He shows Himself in a more tangible nature. The Blessed Sacrament is Life itself and life-giving in two results.
'Whoever eats....possesses eternal life.' This is one result, the promise of eternal life, the life of sanctifying grace to those who do so eat as He commands. This is nourished chiefly by the Blessed Sacrament; which is the life and food of our souls. Never stay away from the Eucharist lest we starve spiritually. There is one shepherd and we are His flock. If we are to work for Him--we must be positive in our outreach to men.
Physical Israel of old received Manna to feed their physical beings while we Spiritual Israel receive this same Manna to feed our Spiritual beings. Our bodies are the 'Temple of the Holy Ghost.' and as such should not be defiled in anyway. We should try and keep ourselves spotless in His sight. You should not come to the Holy Table if you have ought against your brother, but first make your peace with God and Man, then come for your spiritual nourishment. Think on the Footwashing by Our Lord at the Passover.
So 'Unless you eat.. you can have no life in you,' is very true. Have you ever experienced a time when you have not bee able to make your Communion, due to circumstances beyond your control, and possibly have not been able to do so for some time, you tend to become lifeless and careless in Spiritual things. It is also true of our physical body, if we don't eat, we die, if we have abstained from food for a great length of time, without any source of nourishment, we become like that fig tree in the parable, we wither and die.
So if we can die physically, we can also die spiritually. To remedy the latter state we should endeavor to make our Communion as often as we can throughout the year apart from the Special Days of Obligation as laid down in the rules for us. 'And I will raise him up on the last day.' This is the second result of the Blessed Sacrament- life given back to the body. Christ is the first fruits of those that are to rise from the dead when He comes again on the Clouds of Glory to bring His eternal reward for those who have been faithful to Him in this life and have been instrumental in bringing others to Christ.
Ask yourself this question: 'How many have I brought to Christ and to His Church?' Holy Communion is a pledge of our Resurrection. We have received Christ's risen Body, and it will raise ours. What is our hope, Truly Our Hope is in Thee. Christ is Risen 'Alleluia.' And let our response be 'He is Risen indeed Alleluia.'
Take greater thought whenever you hear these words at your next Communion. 'Take; eat; this is My Body which is given for you.' Truly this is our Bread of Life.
To Thee be glory and praise, now and ever, unto Ages of Ages.
Evening: Psalm 51:10; Luke 11:53-12:3;
Morning: Psalm 112:4; Luke 10:21-24;
Liturgy: Ephes. 4:8-16; 1 Peter 5:5-12; Acts 24:10-21;
Psalm 136:1-2; Gospel John 16:15-23.
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