Митрополит Антоний Сурожский

On communion

26 March 1965
Theme: Sacraments, Spiritual life   Place: London Parish   Period: 1961-1965   Genre: Sermon

In our communion of Christ holy Mysteries we become akin to Him – become one with Him humanity. But in receiving this kinship with Him we often think only of ourselves. We think that communion of His Mysteries, this boundless and incomprehensible closeness to Him will make us partakers of God’s glory, open to us the depths of eternal life here on earth, cleanse us from our sins and give us new life. All this is perfectly true, but it is by no means all. We partake not only of the most pure Body and Blood of Christ which lie before us on the holy altar, we partake of the Lord Himself, and communion means having something in common: a common way of life, a common destiny, a common spirit. When we consider the words of the Gospel “Behold, the Son of men goes up to Jerusalem and is delivered into the hands of evil men and they shall spit upon Him and kill Him, but on the third day He shall rise again”, this communion which we seek and pray for acquires a new depth, a new dimension. If we want to be one with Christ, one in eternity, one unto the ages of ages, we must be prepared, in taking holy communion to become one with Him here on earth, to shore that destiny which He took upon Himself; to be in an unfathomable way the presence of Christ Himself so that He should live in us and we in Him. He became man through His boundless, sacrificial, divine love in order that men might believe in love, and having believed might become akin to Him in such a way as to be witnesses on earth of God’s incarnate living love towards us.

And so after communion our hearts are full of joy and gratitude that the Lord has granted us such kinship that, in the words of the Apostle, He is not ashamed to call us brothers, such kinship that our Heavenly Father is indeed our Father in the direct and full meaning of the word. And as Christ entered the world, so we shall all now enter the daily life around us. Let someone experience through us that Christ has entered his life, that through us Christ has encountered him, that through us divine Love has reached him with joy, consolation, compassion, prepared to share anything with him, even as far as God-forsakenness and the cross. If we could live in this way even for the short time that now divides us from Holy Week, our communion would be true and not in vain, not only for ourselves, but for each and all. If we are able to live these days in such a way, when we come to contemplate this terrifying and wonderful Holy Week either in church or out in the world, at work or at home, wherever it may be, we shall find our place in the Passion not beside Judas, not with the thief who rejected Christ, not with the raging crowd crying “crucify him, crucify him”, perhaps not even with those who were afraid to own that they were Christ’s. Perhaps just for a moment we may find ourselves beside Christ on the neighbouring cross, on His right-hand, or perhaps on the way together with Simon of Cyrene to whom it was granted to carry Christ’s cross, or perhaps somewhere near the Crucifixion with the women, fearless in their love.

May God grant us to take communion in such a way that we may not merely dream of eternal bliss, but live by Christ’s achievement through the cross and freely give the joy of heaven to all people, for whose sake He become man. Amen.


Published: Newsletter, No 26 March 1972

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