Last Supper

Gregory of Nyssa, an Early Church Father, wrote “In the same way, when the body which God made immortal enters ours, it transforms it entirely and makes it like itself.” In other words, we are the transubstantiation at communion.

For many of us, though, communion has become a rote behavior. Something we routinely do because it’s a part of church.

During this exercise, I invite you to contemplate the mysterious grace and power available in this worship experience. We all desire to aspire to our full potential. And communion is the moment in our week to get the spiritual nourishment necessary for transubstantiation.

And I have yet to find a better description of the way this works than the one offered by Cyril of Jerusalem, another Early Church Father. Meditate on his words.

As always, write down your impressions from this experience.

So when you approach, do not stretch out your arms or part your fingers. Make your left hand a throne for your right, which is about to receive your king. Cup your hand to receive the body of Christ and respond, ‘Amen’. Carefully sanctify your eyes with a touch of the holy body and then consume it, taking care to lose none of it. For to lose any of it is like being deprived of part of one of your own limbs. Tell me, if you were given some gold dust, would you not guard it most carefully, and take care not to lose or be deprived of any of it? Now this is more precious than gold and precious stones. Are you not then going to take even more care not to drop a crumb of it?

Then, after partaking of Christ’s body, you approach the cup of his blood. Do not stretch out your hands. Bow your head, say ‘Amen’ with adoration and reverence, and sanctify yourself by partaking of Christ’s blood also. And while the moisture is still on your lips, touch them with your hands and sanctify your eyes, your forehead and all your senses. Then wait for the prayer and give thanks to God for counting you worthy of such mysteries.

Cyril of Jerusalem, On the Mysteries 4 & 5, from Documents in Early Christian Thought, edited by Maurice Wiles and Mark Santer, Cambridge University Press, 1975, p. 193.

Now click on this link and watch this clip about a man offering communion to people on the streets and write down your first impressions.


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