Theodore_the_StuditeTears and contrition have great power.

But the Communion of the sanctified Gifts, above all, has especially great power and benefit.

And, seeing that you are so indifferent towards it and do not frequently receive it, I am in wonder and great amazement.

[…] I say these things to you, not because I wish for you simply to commune haphazardly, without preparation.

(For it is written: “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the Bread, and drink of the Cup.

For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body and blood” [1 Cor. 11:28-29]).

No, I am not saying this. God forbid! I say that we should, out of our desire for Communion, purify ourselves as much as possible and make ourselves worthy of the Gift.

For the Bread which came down from heaven is participation in life: “If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (Jn. 6:51).

Again He says: “He that eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him” (Jn. 6:58).

Do you see the ineffable gift? He not only died for us, but He also gives Himself to us as food. What could show more love than this? What is more salvific to the soul?

Moreover, no one fails to partake every day of the food and drink of the common table. And, if it happens that someone does not eat, he becomes greatly dismayed.

And we are not speaking here about ordinary bread, but about the Bread of life; not about an ordinary cup, but about the Cup of immortality.

And do we consider Communion an indifferent matter, entirely unnecessary? How is this thought not irrational and foolish?

If this is how it has been up until now, my children, I ask that we henceforth take heed to ourselves, and, knowing the power of the Gift, let us purify ourselves as much as possible and partake of the sanctified Things.

And if it happens that we are occupied with a handicraft, as soon as we hear the sounding-board calling us to Church, let us put our work aside and go partake of the Gift with great desire.

And this (that is, frequent Communion) will certainly benefit us, for we keep ourselves pure through our preparation for Communion.

If we do not commune frequently, it is impossible for us not to become subject to the passions. Frequent Communion will become for us a companion unto eternal life.

Theodore the Studite: (759-826): Small Catechesis 107 (Mikra Katechesis [Thessaloniki: Orthodoxos Kypsele, 1984], 271-272), quoted in Concerning Frequent Communion by St. Nikodemos the Hagiorite @ OCIC.

Advertisements