Now it is no longer a question of sharing in Christ’s death or burial or in a higher kind of life, but of welcoming the risen Lord himself.
It is no longer the gifts of the Spirit that we receive, insofar as we are able, but our benefactor himself, the very temple that enshrines all gifts.
Christ…leads communicants to his Table and gives them his body to eat he completely transforms them, raising them to his own level.
This is the last Sacrament we receive because it is impossible to go beyond it or to add to it anything whatever.
We remain imperfect even after Baptism has produced in us its full effect because we have not yet received the gifts of the Holy Spirit, which are given in Chrismation.
[…] Yet even among those who had been filled with the Spirit and who prophesied, spoke in tongues and displayed other such gifts, there were some in the time of the Apostles who were so far from being divine and spiritual as to be guilty of envy, rivalry, contention, and other similar vices.
This is what Paul referred to when he wrote to them: You are still unspiritual and are living on a purely human plane.
They were indeed spiritual by reason of the graces they had received, but these graces did not suffice to free them from all sinfulness.
With the Eucharist, however, it is different.
No such charge can be brought against those in whom the Bread of Life, which has saved them from death, has had its full effect and who have not brought to this feast any wrongful dispositions.
If this Sacrament is fully effective it is quite impossible for it to allow the slightest imperfection to remain in those who receive it.
If you would know the reason for this, it is because through communion, in fulfilment of his promise, Christ dwells in us and we in him.
He lives in me, he said, and I in him.
When Christ lives in us, what can we lack? When we live in Christ, what more can we desire?
We at once become spiritual in body and soul and in all our faculties because our soul is united to his soul, our body to his body, our blood to his blood.
The consequence is that the higher prevails over the lower, the divine over the human.
As Paul says, referring to the Resurrection: What is mortal is swallowed up by life.
And elsewhere he writes: It is no longer I who live: it is Christ who lives in me.
Nicholas Cabasilas (1319/1323–after 1391): The Life in Christ, 4 (PG 150:582-583); from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday of the Fifth Week of Eastertide, Year 2