ORTHODOXY – PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS
THE POWER IN THE EUCHARIST
The Eucharist is the divin living food so beneficial to our souls, it also makes our bodies noble and beneficial, doing only good works to others. Our body is the inseparable companion of the soul and is necessary for our various functions of both soul and body. If the body has a wicked disposition it can do harm to the soul, but if it has a good disposition, it will prove beneficial to the soul. Thus the body can be the cause of much distress or of great benefit to the soul. The old man sinned and submitted to the desires of the body resulting in mortality instead of immortality. For sin entered the world through eating what was forbidden by the divine law. Now the divine food gives man the strength to avoid sin and keep the entire law of God which results in eternal life. Sin also brought on fear of death, and it is this fear of death that Christ has changed into the death of death or immortality. Adam and Eve hid from Lord because of sins, but eating the divine food and doing the divine work, we approach the Father with a new hope and love.
Adam the first man was told to eat everything except from a certain tree, “for if you eat from that tree you will certainly die.” But Jesus Christ commands the new men to eat: “Take and eat my body and drink my blood and you will never die.” Eating and drinking contrary to the divine law arouses in the soul fear, shame, flight, condemnation and death. But eating according to the divine law is results happiness in the soul who is living in righteousness, courage, propriety, frankness, justification, and thus gaining eternal life. When a sinner changes and does right he does not remain a sinner but becomes a son. The Eucharist is offered to sons and daughters with the words “take eat”; and all who eat lawfully and keep the commandments enter the path of life everlasting.
The power in the mystery of the Eucharist is best comprehended by remembrance of Christ, who He is and all that He did out of love for us, for He emptied himself and became obedient to death even death on the Cross. The remembrance of how Christ, being by nature God, descended to earth and became also a man, that I being by nature a man, might ascend to heaven and become a god. Christ suffered the greatest of all things evil 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. He humbled himself so that I might be exalted. He suffered dishonor that I might be honored. He underwent hardships, afflictions, sorrows and pain, that I might find relaxation, joy, exhilaration and happiness. He died that I might live. He became a poor man without figure or beauty, that I might become a blissful god invested with honor and glory.
But I am mentioning what He did for me, and should remember Christ not only for what He did for me, but for himself for He is exceedingly good and worthy of our love. The love of Jesus Christ is similar to a wound in the heart of those who love him. The salve and dressing applicable to this wound is to heed every word and keep every commandment, for He alone is worthy of our love. Christ says: “All things whatever you would that men should do to you, do you even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets. Let us accept Christ’s commandments with enthusiasm for they will help us to achieve our goal of deification.
We must deny ourselves as Christ denied himself and humble ourselves as He humbled himself even to death on the Cross. We must minister to others and become impoverished for His sake and submit to dishonor as He did. Let us obey His will as He obeyed the will of His Father. Let us take upon ourselves His gentle yoke throwing off the yoke of sin which is heavy and terrible to bear. The fulfillment of the law is love of Christ and do no evil to our neighbor or our enemies. The apparent difficulties of the commandments of Christ are made easy by the divine food with which He feeds us continually.
We find in the Eucharist the power to do all that God has commanded. Partaking of His body and blood fills our souls with courage and the necessary power for fulfilling everything required, then we will see our nature change as we become more like Christ. The Evangelist says: “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Transitory life developed and exceeding its limits produced what is known as worldly life, the everyday life of most people, who like the ancient Greeks say: “Eat, drink and be merry; tomorrow we die! But good God continually offers divine food for the spiritual and divine life which leads to life everlasting.