Митрополит Антоний Сурожский


19 March 1967
Theme: Sacraments, Great Lent   Place: London Parish   Period: 1966-1970   Genre: Sermon

During these weeks of Lent many of you will be partaking of the Holy Mysteries, and we must partake of them attentively, aware of what we are doing, what we are asking for and what we are undertaking. To partake of the Holy Mysteries means to call upon God, so to unite Himself with us that not only in our souls, but in our very flesh His life should become our life, and our life – His. For this reason every time, after taking communion, that we perform deeds of darkness it is as though we were painfully forcing the Lord along the very same path that let Him in the days of His Passion to crucifixion, to suffering, to mockery. Let us not forget this. At this very time we expect God to give us life, new superabundant life, and this life as given us, because when the Lord comes to us and unites us with Himself, eternal life overcomes us and enters into us. But we do not accept this life, which is given us; we should like to rejoice in it, but we are unwilling to bear its burden – for there is a burden and a tragic side to this eternal life on earth, and not only sparkling joy. We begin to live the life of the world to come; but we can only hold on to this life when we abandon evil words, the life of darkness, corruption and death, abandon it consciously, by an effort of will, ruthless to ourselves, to our own weakness, and furthermore, when we nourish this eternal life in ourselves with the life of the Gospel and with prayer. But there is another side to it; we entreat the Lord to unite Himself with us and take upon Himself the burden of our lives and bear it together with us; but at the same time we must be prepared to accept the destiny of the incarnate Son of God on earth: to belong to heaven, to God, to truth, with all the possible consequences, which first of all include an inner struggle with the sin and death that is in us. On the other hand, it implies a readiness to defend God’s truth, the mystery of the Kingdom of Heaven, of the divine love on earth in all human relationships, even where this means making some sacrifice, even sacrificing oneself. And finally, it brings the duty of willingly being rejected in the name of the Lord and His Truth, of being excluded, and becoming strangers to all those, who consciously or unconsciously rebel against this truth. Therefore, when we take Holy Communion let us prepare ourselves with great care and attention, let us prepare ourselves also so as to approach confession consciously; reject all the untruth in us, turn away from anything, that could enslave us,  but let us prepare also to be able, after our confession and union with Christ, to begin a new life, whatever it may cost. If we can act in this way, then the gift of Holy communion, the uniting with Christ, the indwelling in us of the grace of the Holy Spirit, all those new and ineffable relations, which are created between us and the Father, and in Him with all men, will bear fruit. Otherwise we shall constantly regret, that though we appeal to God, we remain without help and strength; and that, not because God does not give us help, and not because we have not the strength, but because we dissipate God’s gift so lightly in the desert of life. Therefore, let us joyfully approach the new life, both those who have already received communion, and those for whom this incredible triumph and joy is yet to come, and let us live in such a way, that through us heaven my be present on earth and, that the Kingdom of God within us should conquer all around us from the least to the greatest.


Publsihed: NEWS-LETTER No 38


,                                                                   April 1973

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