THE MYSTERY OF THE EUCHARIST
"THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME"
"THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME"
On the night in which He was betrayed, Jesus took bread and broke it and said to His disciples: "Take eat, this is my body, which is broken for you; this do in remembrance. Drink you of it all, for this is my blood in the new covenant which is shed for you and many for remission of sins."
"This do in remembrance of me!"
He that eats and drinks the body and blood of the Lord, will be unable to forget the Lord, but will continually remember Him for ever. Let us then consider what the nature of this remembrance is.
The Sweet Remembrance of ChristThe remembrance of Christ consists in thinking, what a person Christ must have been to have done such a work, and what a work, for our salvation! Thinking, that although being in the form of God, and enjoying all the power, authority, and glory of God, as being the perfect Logos of the perfect Mind, as the reflection of His glory, and although served and honored by all the angelic and bodiless forces, and master of all creation visible and invisible, He emptied himself, and became obedient unto death, even death on the Cross.
The remembrance of Christ consists in thinking how Christ, although by nature God, descended upon the earth, and became man that I, by nature a man, might ascend to heaven, and become a god; that He suffered the most disagreeable of all things disagreeable that I might enjoy the greatest good of all things good which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man; that He humbled himself that I might be exalted; that He suffered dishonor, that I might be honored; that He underwent hardships, afflictions, sorrows, and pain that I might find relaxation, joy, and happiness; that He died that I might live; and in a word, that He became a poor man without form or beauty that I might become a blissful god invested with honor and glory.
The remembrance of Christ consists in thinking how much Christ loved me, to allow himself to be slaughtered and to give His most precious life as ransom for my sake! How much Christ loved me, to become my food and my nourisher, feeding me with His own Flesh, just as a mother feeds from her own breast the child to whom she has given birth! How much Christ loved me to give me all He had and make it mine, without having received anything from me and without needing anything!
In a word, the remembrance of Christ consists in thinking of the self-abnegation and sacrifice of Christ, the motive of which was His love for me and the end and purpose of which was my deification! Dearest remembrance! Sweetest remembrance of the mystery of Eucharist! You are more dear to me than all other treasures! You are sweeter to my tongue than honey! The memory and remembrance and contemplation of the Son of God delights me, because He is exceedingly good. It delights me because I understand how good Christ is rather that I know what good I have received from Him.
Your love, my Christ, has wounded me in my heart, and how shall I heal this wound? What medicine or dressings shall I put upon my wound? Your commandments I shall keep, and your will I will do; for these things are a consolation and a comfort to the soul that loves you, and it is such medicines and dressings that the wound of your love seeks. You have said: "All things whatever you would that me should do to you, do you even so to them."
When we keep the commandments of Christ we show our love for Him. If we say we love Him and neglect His commandments, this belies our love, and we need to correct it for disobedience to Christ, deprives us of the benefits that the Holy Eucharist confers on us, and may even prove to be harmful. Among the commandments are prayer fasting and almsgiving, abstaining from all evils and doing only what is good, which are among the conditions for partaking of the Eucharist worthily.
"Remember me O Lord, when you come in your kingdom."
The Eucharist is the divine food, that not only benefits our souls, to the highest degree, but also changes our bodies, rendering them noble and beneficial. The body is the inseparable companion of the soul, and the instrument by which it accomplishes its actions. Because the desires of the body can lead the soul into sins, we are taught in both words of the Scripture, and actions of the ascetics, to subject the body to the soul, its rightful master. If we allow the Body to rule over the soul we surrender our freedom and become enslaved to carnal desires. This is what Orthodox fasting and temperance concern. We follow the rules of fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, during the four fasts of the year, and a few other times. This promotes sobriety of the mind and soundness and excellent health of the body.
When Christ introduced the future eating of the Eucharist, saying that He is the Bread which came down from heaven, and that the faithful would partake of the Lord himself, this became a difficult saying to many of the Jews who were His disciples. He said to the Jews: "Amen, amen, Moses did not give you that bread which comes down from heaven but my Father gives you the true bread which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world." (John 6:32). The Jews murmured at him because He said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. Jesus told them: "I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever. And the bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." The Jews strove among themselves and did not understand, thus Christ said: "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life; and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is truly food, and my blood is truly drink. He that eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me and I in him." (John 6: 51-56)
After that many of the Jews who were His disciples, no longer "walked with them; then Jesus said to the twelve, will you also go away?" Peter answered Him, Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:67). Realizing who Christ is and His extreme love for mankind, we all must follow Peter’s example and never be scandalized by the pure words of Jesus Christ!
The Eucharist is filled with the compassion, the life and the glory of God, it is greatest of all blessings to know that this provides worthy partakers with immortal life and the eternal kingdom of God.