Sunday, June 22, 2008

On the Eucharist

“So we approach to the mystical gifts and are sanctified, becoming partakers of the holy flesh and the honorable blood of Christ the Saviour of us all, not receiving it as ordinary flesh – God forbid – nor as that of a man sanctified and conjoined with the Word by unity of honor, or as one who had received a divine indwelling, but as truly life-giving and the Word’s own flesh. For being by nature, as God, life, when he had become one with his own flesh, he made it life-giving” (Cyril of Alexandria, The Third Letter of Cyril of Nestorius).

“Even as an act of the Church, therefore, the Eucharist is not to be regarded as independent act on our part in response to what God has already done for us in Christ . . . but as acts towards the Father already fulfilled in the humanity of Christ in our place and on our behalf, to which our acts in his name are assimilated and identified through the Spirit” (T.F. Torrance, Theology in Reconciliation).

“Author of life Divine, who hast a table spread,
Furnish’d with mystic wine and everlasting bread,
Preserve the life thyself hast given,
And feed and train us up for heaven” (John Wesley, Hymns on the Lords Supper of 1745)

“Come, Holy Ghost, thine influence shed, and realize the sign;
Thy life infused into the bread, Thy power into the wine.
Effectual let the tokens prove, and made, by heavenly art,
Fit channels to convey thy love to every faithful heart” (John Wesley, Hymns on the Lords Supper of 1745)

“In the Eucharist the church is always called to become what it eschatologically is” (William Cavanaugh, Torture and Eucharist).

“We know that real life is 'eucharist,' a movement of love and adoration toward God, the movement in which alone the meaning and the value of all that exists can be revealed and fulfilled. We know that we have lost this eucharistic life, and finally we know that in Christ, the new Adam, the perfect man, this eucharistic life was restored to man. For He Himself was the perfect Eucharist; He offered Himself in total obedience, love, and thanksgiving to God. God was His very life. And He gave this perfect eucharist life to us. In Him God became our life” (Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the World).

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