metropolitan Anthony of Sourozh

On communion

9 December 1973
Theme: Sacraments   Place: London Parish   Period: 1971-1975   Genre: Sermon

In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.

How many of us have today received communion to the Holy Body of Christ, to His Precious Blood? To­day we have become one with Him, one to the very depth of our organic being and to the very depth of our soul… Today our kinship with the Incarnate Son of God become the Son of man has become so deep: He shares with us not only His life, but all His being, all that He is, He accepts to unite Himself with us, in such a way that He carries the weight of all that we are, our brokenness, the weight of our sins, the pain of it. We have become one with Him, and one with each other again in a new way, ever closer. What are we going to do now?

In a few moments we will leave the church and walk into the world. Shall the world, every person who meet us, notice that they have met with the presence of Christ, and if not, — why?

We should be so pervaded with His presence, the light of eternity should be so resplendent in us that everyone should notice it. I am not speaking of any kind of visible light, although that also happened in the lives of Saints; I am speaking of a light more convincing, more sure than anything that human eye can see.

Are people who meet us today going to meet people whose mind is enlightened by the mind of Christ? Whose thoughts are God’s thoughts, as pure, as kind, as perfect? Are the people who will meet us, to find brothers, sisters whose heart has become still, serene, pure, loving, loving beyond any human measure, loving with the love of God? Shall the people who meet us today see that our will is free, that we are no longer  enslaved by self-will, by selfishness, that our will is not turned inwards, that our will does not reach out towards others to enslave, to overpower, that our will is that every person whom we meet receive from us, or rather through us, from God, blessing, an increase of life, a new measure of truth, a greater purity, light and joy, and life eternal. Shall all that happen? Shall the people who meet us, meet Christ through us, because we have come so close to Him that we are still fragrant with His frag­rance, aglow with His light, warm with His love?

And if not, how shall we stand before God when He will say: I have shared all I was and all I had with you, — what have you done with it? Who has thanked your eternal Father, My eternal Father, seeing your good works, the shining of life and of love in you?

When we come to communion we so long for God to give us blessing and peace, divine lucidity of mind, divine warmth of heart to make His will understandable to guide us in all our ways, to renew us in soul and body, and He does, but why is it that we lose this grace so easily? Because we try to keep it to ourselves.

A spiritual guide of the Russian Church in the beginning of this century said once: One possesses only those things which one has given away. The things to which we cling possess us, the things which we generously, wholeheartedly give away are ours truly. God has given us light and love, and life in abundance, — let us share it, let us make every person whom we meet, every situation which we enter a place where God is present with all His beauty, and His grace, and then we will discover that all we have given has become ours in a new way, not as something we hold in a momentary trust, but as some­thing that has become ourselves. Let us be as generous, as giving as God is to us, and there will be no end to our growing into oneness with the Living God, sharing all that He is, all that He has. Amen

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