Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sacrifice of Praise


As seen from the book The Historic Church: An Orthodox View of Christian History



 The Holy Eucharist
Like all Christians, Orthodox and Roman Catholics celebrate the Eucharist. The Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches teach that the bread and wine become the actual Body and Blood of Christ. Both East and West also consider the Eucharist a commemoration or remembrance of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. For this reason, both Churches describe the Eucharist as a “sacrifice of praise.” During his prayers, an Orthodox priest refers to the Divine Liturgy as a “liturgic and bloodless sacrifice.”544 During the Roman Catholic Mass, the priest says, “Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the Almighty Father.”545 Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians also believe that in the Eucharist Christ both offers and receives the sacrifice. During the Orthodox Liturgy, the priest prays, “thou thyself art he that offereth and is offered, that is accepteth and is “distributed.”546 [1]

and

The Orthodox Church rejects any effort to use the categories of science or philosophy to explain how the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. Instead, the Orthodox consider the Eucharist a mystery that cannot be explained according to human reason.

Through the Eucharist, the Faithful partake of the Body and Blood of Christ, which imparts grace and the forgiveness of sins. Because Orthodox Christians reject any effort to understand the Eucharist through human reason, they are content with the words of the Holy Scriptures. Christ said, “this is my body…this is my blood.”787 St. Paul wrote, “The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of

Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ.”788 Christ said, “he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up the last day…he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.”789 Thus, those who receive Holy Communion are united to Christ.790 Nicholas Cabasilas taught those who partake of Holy Communion, “receive God Himself,” because “Christ infuses Himself into us and mingles Himself with us. He changes and transforms us into Himself.”791

Through Holy Communion, the believer receives deifying grace from God by partaking of the very life of God through the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ. The Eucharist also defines and proclaims the reality of the Church. St. Paul wrote, “Because there is one bread, we who are Through Holy Communion, the believer receives deifying grace from God by partaking of the very life of God through the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ. The Eucharist also defines and proclaims the reality of the Church. St. Paul wrote, “Because there is one bread, we who are Masses offered, the greater the chance that God would grant their request.

There were priests whose sole ministry was saying Masses in return for a donation from those seeking some special favor from God. Some people left special endowments to pay for Masses for their release from purgatory.795 It is easy to see how this system can lead to misunderstandings and abuses. Orthodoxy and modern Roman Catholicism reject the crude folk religion that thought that every Mass is a new offering of Christ on the cross. However, Luther again went too far by rejecting the sacrificial nature of the Eucharist.
 All prayer is an un-bloody sacrifice offered to God. As the supreme act of prayer by the community, the Divine Liturgy is sacrifice of praise, thanksgiving and worship offered to God. The Divine Liturgy is not a new offering of Christ, but it is a commemoration of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

St. Paul wrote, “For as often as you eat the bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”796 As the Apostle noted, the Jews became “partners in the altar” when they ate meat from the animal being offered.797 By partaking of the body and blood of Christ who offered Himself on the cross, the faithful become “partners” in the altar of Calvary.
Because it is a mystical participation in the worship of God in heaven, the Eucharist transcends time and space. For this reason, the faithful are mystically present when Christ offers Himself for the salvation of humanity through their participation in the Divine Liturgy. Christ is the true celebrant of the Eucharist. The priest is merely His representative.
Therefore, Christ offers Himself for the salvation of the Faithful at every Divine Liturgy. During the Byzantine Liturgy, the Priest prays, “thou thyself art he that offereth and is offered.”798 Finally, the Faithful offer themselves as a living sacrifice during the Eucharist. Thus, Luther and Protestantism goes to an extreme that robs the Eucharist of one of its most important meanings by failing to understand the sacrificial nature of the Divine Liturgy. [2]



[1] page 180, [2]pages 253-254 by Archpriest John W. Morris (2011-07-15). The Historic Church: An Orthodox View of Christian History (p. 180),(p. 254). AuthorHouse. Kindle Edition.




1 comments:

Archpriest John Morris said...

I just read the quote from the Kindle edition of my book. I have not seen anything from the Kindle edition before. However, if this is an example, the Kindle edition mixes up the text. One paragraph that you quoted is unintelligible. The text all mixed up. I checked the print edition and found that I did not write this quote in such an illiterate fashion. I shall contact the publisher tomorrow.

Fr. John W. Morris

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