Monday, March 9, 2009

On Communion

Daniel the disciple of Arsenius used to talk about a hermit is Skete, saying that he was a great man but simple in faith, and in his ignorance he thought and said that the bread which we receive is not in very truth the Body of Christ, but a symbol of His Body.

Two of the monks heard what he said but because of his sublime works and labors, they imagined that he said it in innocence and simple-mindedness; and so they came to him and said unto him, "Abba, someone told us something that we do not believe; he said that this bread that we receive is not in very truth the Body of Christ, but a mere symbol."

He said to them, " I said that."

They begged him, saying, "You mustn't say that, abba; according to what the Catholic Church has handed down to us, even so do we believe, that is to say, this bread is the Body of Christ in very truth, and is not a mere symbol. It is the same as when God took dust from the earth, and made man in His image; just as no one can say that he is not the image of God, so also with the bread of which He said, 'This is My Body' is not to be regarded as a merely commemorative thing; we believe that it is indeed the Body of Christ."

The hermit said, "Unless I can be convinced by the thing itself I will not listen to this."
Then the monks said to him, "Let us pray to God all week about this mystery, and we believe He will reveal the truth to us."

The hermit agreed to this with great joy, and each went to his cell. Then the hermit prayed, saying, "O Lord, you know that it is not out of wickedness that I do not believe, so in order that I may not go astray through ignorance, reveal to me, Lord Jesus Christ, the truth of this mystery."

The other two brothers prayed to God and said, "Lord Jesus Christ, give this hermit understanding about this mystery, and we believe that he will not be lost." God heard the prayer of the two monks.

When the week was over they came to the church and the three of them sat down by themselves on one seat, the hermit between the other two. The eyes of their understanding were opened, and when the time of the mysteries arrived, and the bread was laid upon the holy table, there appeared to the three of them as it were a child on the table.

Then the priest stretched out his hand to break the bread, and behold the angel of the Lord came down from heaven with a knife in his hand, and he killed the child and pressed out his blood into the cup. When the priest broke off from the bread small pieces, the hermit went forward to receive communion and a piece of living flesh smeared and dripping with blood was given to him.

Now when he saw this he was afraid and he cried out loudly, saying "Lord, I believe the bread is Your Body, and that the cup is Your Blood."

At once, the flesh that was in his hand became bread, and he took it and gave thanks to God.

The brothers said to him, "God knows the nature of men, and that we are unable to eat living flesh, and so He turneth His Body into bread, and His Blood into wine for those who receive Him in faith."

Then they gave thanks to God for the hermit, because He had not let Satan destroy him, and the three of them went back to their cells joyfully.

No comments:

Post a Comment