We Are People of the Eucharist
Towards a renewed love for Holy Communion
Reflections on the Eucharist
by Bishop David Motiuk, Eparchy of Edmonton
The Mystery of the Eucharist
Nicholas Cabasilas, a fourteenth century layman who commented on the Divine Liturgy (Mass) and the Life of Christ, wonderfully captures the essence of the mystery of the Eucharist in these words:
“So perfect is this Mystery, so far does it excel every other sacred rite that it leads to the very summit of good things. Here also is the final goal of every human endeavour. For in it we obtain God himself, and God is united with us in the most perfect union.”
“Since it was not possible for us to ascend to him and participate in that which is his, he came down to us and partook of that which is ours. So perfectly has he coalesced with that which he has taken that he imparts himself to us by giving us what he has assumed from us. As we partake of his human body and blood we receive God himself into our souls. It is thus God’s body and blood which we receive, his soul, mind, and will, no less than those of his humanity” (The Life in Christ).
How great is the mystery of the Eucharist! Something well beyond our understanding and comprehension. Yet, how wonderful and beautiful is the Eucharist, something we can never tire of receiving, rather setting aside all earthly cares that we can approach and receive Holy Communion with our family and friends each and every Sunday!
As I think back to my First Solemn Holy Communion at that early age, I certainly did not understand the mystery of the Eucharist and what exactly was happening at the moment. How can a child possibly comprehend that he or she is receiving Jesus’ true body and blood? Even in my later adult years, it is still a mystery!
Yet, my family knew then that I needed the Eucharist to grow spiritually already at a young age. And it was their faith that carried me forward those early childhood years until I could approach on my own.
The mystery of the Eucharist remains in my life. All the more, I desire to receive the Eucharist regularly so that I can grow in holiness in response to God’s call to become like God. In the words of Saint Athanasius the Great, an early Church Father, “God became human that humans might become god.” In other words, God became one of us, assuming our humanity, that we might become by grace what God is.
This is the essence of the Eucharist. At the Nativity of Our Lord, God shared our humanity that we might share God’s divinity. A mystery yes, but how wonderful and beautiful!
My prayer for you is that your regular partaking in the body and blood of Christ will help you grow in holiness.
Now, for your homework. Don’t you want the same for others, especially your family and friends? Please first pray for your family and friends that they may share in your love for the mystery of the Eucharist, then second, don’t just pray for them, invite them to the next Sunday Divine Liturgy (Mass) that they may taste Jesus’ body and blood for themselves, and grow in their own holiness.
We are people of the Eucharist.