Monday, July 31, 2006

Eucharistic Relations

I did not commune this morning. Suffice it to say, I was not prepared. We'll leave it at that.

It's always interesting to me to deal with my thoughts on mornings I don't commune. Why are my sins, which really are ever-present in my life, all of a sudden so serious now that they keep me from the chalice, when on other weeks such is not the case?

St. Paul, it seems, is quite merciful when he tells us that "whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord" (1 Cor. 11:27, emph. mine). He does not say, it should be noted, that we are not to partake "unworthily"--for none of us could claim to be such--yet we are not to partake in an "unworthy manner." My manner of preparation, or lack thereof, was most definitely unworthy of the supreme gift that was offered today for all of us, and for all the world. A bit of the foretaste of that Day, perhaps, when all those who come before the Lord unprepared will see that they are unable to partake of His presence as joy and rest...

What is the Eucharist for us Orthodox, exactly? My thought while driving to church today was that the Eucharist is, for a person who's living an upright Christian life in relation to his God and his neighbor (especially his brothers and sisters in Christ), what sex is for a couple in a healthy marriage. Does the sex make the couple one? Not really; the act of marriage itself is what unites a man and a woman, while sex is the celebration of the union that's already been formed. In the same way, the Eucharist is not the thing that truly unites us to Christ--that happened at our baptisms and chrismations--but the Eucharist is the (if you'll pardon the somewhat vulgar pun) "climax" of our already existing union with the Almighty, a celebration of a union that is healthy and open, both as individuals with their Maker and Bridegroom, and as individuals in community with each other as the Body of Christ.

For me to have communed today would have been like cheating on Audra, lying to her, verbally abusing her, ignoring her--then turning right around and having sex with her. While such an act would probably still be pleasureable for a selfish b****** who cares nothing for the feelings of the spouse (in this case, me), such an act could hardly be seen as an expression of a sacrificially giving husband towards his wife (and vice versa) that is described in Ephesians 5. So, too, would communion today have been my getting what I wanted--to live like the devil but still make "my communion" (as if it were actually mine alone to be had) in order to look good or lull myself into a stupor of false piety--but in no way making it a genuine reflection of a cherished, healthy relationship with my God and my neighbor.

No...time to get off the couch, out of the doghouse, whatever--hey, I put myself there--and make amends. Transfiguration looms close...

3 comments:

Ian said...

Thanks you: I needed to hear this.

Prayers from Down Under also.

jason said...

hello sir.

we are back in town, by the way.... prayers always for you and yours...

jason

The Scrivener said...

Yes, thank you for this.