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- Eucharist & Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries
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- Catholic Australia - Eucharist
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If He were not to possess a definite individuality His very humanity would not be genuine.
Eucharist & Church Fellowship in the First Four Centuries
If He would have lacked individuality in this way He would have differed from every other man in this particular characteristic. But simultaneously with being a definite man — Jesus, the son of David — Christ was also an all -man an all -individual. Only by being an all-man could Christ redeem the whole of humanity and become its new progenitor, the New Adam, starting with Himself a new generation of the sons of God. It represents a living multiunity which has one life in Christ, but at the same time it is an absolutely real multitude of hypostatic images, which are united in this oneness of life.
Comparing the Church to a body, the Apostle Paul simultaneously shows us both the common life in the body and the multiplicity of its members, and the living link which exists, between these members. XII: The harmony of the multi-unity is love, which unites it into the Church. Church unity is the inner norm for the life of Christian mankind: reunited by the Spirit of God it grows in unity. IV: The 'sobornost' of the Church, that is — union in love — thus becomes the Body of Christ which is being accomplished, and at the same time contains in itself the guiding principle and ideal for the fellowship of mankind.
In its simplicity and childlike, unassuming, originality it was revealed to the world in the life of the Primitive Church, in which newly converted Christians lived in religious communion and unity of love. What is it that particularly attracts our attention in this picture of the simple life of the Primitive community? The fact that church love, the 'sobornost' of the Church is not confined to the temple and prayer, but spreads to the whole of their life.
They do not draw a distinction between that which is of the Church and that which is not, for they included the whole of life into the fulness of Church unity. And thus silently, through an example from actual life, it is pointed out to us that the sobornost of Church life knows of no limitation and in principle leaves nothing to the lower, animal principles — on the contrary, that it desires to melt all and recast all in the fire of Church love. But in the further history of the Church, in fact very soon after, this sobornost pauses on the threshold of the temple and does not go further.
It limited itself, leaving life beyond the doorstep of the temple, devoid of the consecration of the Church, The Church could never succeed, however, in forgetting the most cherished dreams of its childhood, which ought to have become the aim and striving of the grown man. For the activity of the Church, the power of its 'sobornost' ought to spread to the whole of the life of its members and consequently to the whole of the life of Christian society. The 'soborny' body of the Church is the Body of Christ, His humanity.
Its very existence is associated with the Incarnation, in fact one can say that it is His divine Incarnation. For the Incarnation was accomplished not only for the time of the earthly presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ. It also maintains an abiding significance. XIII: 8. All the members of the Church, for themselves, have this power of the Incarnation, for they are bound to Christ in His Body. This reality of the Body of Christ acquires for itself a direct and immediate fulfilment in the Sacrament of the Body and Blood, in the Divine Eucharist.
In this sense the Eucharist is the fulfilment of the divine reality of the deification of mankind, an abiding and extended Incarnation. In truth, what does this Sacrament signify in its fulness?
But this its purpose becomes derivative in relation to its more general meaning. Partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ only becomes possible owing to the fact that this very Body and Blood of Christ actually exist — while their existence is a consequence of the accomplished Incarnation. Therefore Communion first of all witnesses to the Incarnation that has been fulfilled and the Mystery of the Body and Blood of Christ in itself represents this Incarnation, as if it takes place afresh, or more accurately, as if it were extended.
For this reason the change in the Holy Gifts and Communion itself during the Liturgy are not separate isolated acts, taken outside any context with the whole life of our Saviour, of the whole of the Incarnation. This act is neither a kind of magic act performed by the priest, associated with the recitation of certain sacramental words, which as it were, resemble an incantation.
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Such an interpretation it acquires in Roman theology. In particular. Thomas Aquinas, if the priest recites the words of institution even apart from the saying of the whole Mass, outside its context, the Sacrament takes place in spite of this — evidently as an act of magic. But the transformation of the Holy Gifts only takes place in connection with the whole of the Incarnation. Thus we see that the Liturgy represents the Incarnation which again takes place for us, is renewed, is repeated.
Christ again comes into the world to unite with His humanity, and the rays of this union emerge from the Holy Chalice and penetrate the hearts of those who approach the Sacrament. And through Communion they fulfil for themselves the accomplished Incarnation, uniting with Christ into one Body, into one deified humanity. One could put it that God is born in every one of those who partake at the Liturgy, and everyone of them is born in God, enters His divine sonship.
But at the same time everyone communicates also to the power of the redeeming Sacrifice of Calvary. For the divine Eucharist which represents for us a renewed Incarnation includes within itself also that which was the heart and the culminating event in the earthly life of our Saviour — the death on the Cross — the redeeming Sacrifice. The Divine Eucharist is this redeeming Sacrifice.
And in so far as it is this Redeeming Sacrifice it represents a communion of this Sacrifice : first the Sacrifice and then a partaking of it. The sacrificial Blood washes the sins of all, and through it all are united in sonship to God, through the offering of the Sacrifice. Whose is the Eucharistic Sacrifice, whom does it affect and for whom is it offered? The answer is simple and clear: the Churches and for the Church.
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It is in the Sacrifice that we hear the pulsation of the heart of the Church, it is there that its unity is fulfilled in sobornost. It does not only reinstate the fallen nature of Adam, it leads to a new life in Christ, It gives to the natural man of the Old Adam the power to become Christ's mankind, gives him the power for new life. For a fuller understanding of this side of the divine Eucharist we should consider here the parting. This talk is preserved for us only in the Gospel of St. At the same time we find that he is the only one of the Evangelists who does not record the actual institution of the Eucharist, of which all the three Synoptists treat.
But, according to his general custom, St. John amplifies the narratives which speak of the establishment of the Eucharist, by the parting discourse of Our Lord. This discourse provides an authentic divine interpretation of all the significance of this usage and its testament on prayer, prophecies and pledges. It is, so to speak, a divine Eucharistic theology. And it treats first of all of the coining of the Spirit — the Comforter Who shall teach all things and shall declare the things that are to come.
Further it speaks of love through the power of which. Just before hearing this they had communicated of His Body and Blood and had thus been united to Christ.
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Therefore the Christ Who speaks to them here as their Master, and the Eucharistic Christ of Whom they have just partaken, is the one and same Christ, so that the parting discourse is, so to speak, the voice of Holy Communion itself in the communicants, the word of the Word in the Eucharist which constantly resounds in the Eucharistic heart.
And all this parting speech is the sweetest discourse ever expressed in human language. It culminates in the so-called High-Priestly Prayer, which speaks of eternal glory and life eternal. Sanctify them in the truth: Thy word is truth. This blessing in prayer the High Priest bestowes on His mankind, when He consecrates it to a service of His Truth, sending His disciples into the world, as He Himself was sent into the world by His Father.
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He seems to throw open before His disciples the gates of the temple — of the Upper Room — calling on them to share with the world the treasures which they have received — the divine Eucharist. He bequeaths to them a Eucharistic life , He gives then Eucharistic inspiration , through this communion of the word.
This universality acquires here a two-fold meaning — on the one hand it concerns all — the whole world and the whole of mankind, on the other hand — everything — that is, all in life, with the exception, of course, of sin. The universal element does not preclude, but includes the personal, and the. It is important to insist that here we have no repugnance to or disregard of human life, still less any scorn of this life.
And in fact St. BibTex RIS. LX, pages. ISBN Add to Cart.
Also Available As:. Published in English. The whole Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine—the glorified Christ who rose from the dead after dying for our sins. This presence of Christ in the Eucharist is called "real" not to exclude other types of his presence as if they could not be understood as real cf. Catechism , no. The risen Christ is present to his Church in many ways, but most especially through the sacrament of his Body and Blood.
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