Wednesday, November 4, 2009

With daring and with boldness

In an earlier post, I talked about preparation for the Holy Eucharist, which, I fear, is not done by many. At the same time, how much preparation can one possibly do to receive the Lord who is Holy in my body which is corrupt and sinful? In the Canon for preparation for the Eucharist, we confess that this is a mystery, saying: "How is it that I who am but clay partake of the mystic food! O Great Mystery! O Divine Compassion!" We sinful creatures cannot possibly wipe away our transgressions by ourselves. That's why the Lord came, incarnate, in the first place.

Since we cannot make ourselves holy no matter how much prayer and preparation we put ourselves through, that is why it is significant that we must confess that it is with daring and with boldness that we approach the chalice at every Divine Liturgy, especially in our prayers of preparation. In the 10 prayers of preparation, the following speak of the boldness and daring we have in Christ Jesus to come to his Holy Table. A few snippets:

From the first prayer of St. Basil the Great: Wherefore, though I am unworthy of both Heaven and earth, and even of this transient life, since I have wholly subjected myself to sin and am a slave to pleasures and have defaced Thine image, yet being Thy work and creation, I the wretched one, do not despair of my salvation; but emboldened by Thine immeasurable compassion, I draw nigh.

From the second prayer of St. Basil the Great: I know, O Lord, that I partake of Thine immaculate Body and precious Blood unworthily, and that I am guilty, and eat and drink judgment to myself, not discerning the Body and Blood of Thee, my Christ and my God. But trusting in Thy compassions, I take courage and approach Thee...

From the third prayer of St. John Chrysostom: For it is not one presumptuous [i.e. in my own goodness] that I draw nigh to Thee, O Christ my God, but as one taking courage in Thine ineffable goodness...

From the fourth prayer of St. John Chrysostom: I am not sufficient, O Master and Lord, that Thou shouldest enter under the roof of my soul; but since Thou, as the Friend of Man, dost will to dwell in me, with trust I draw nigh.

From the seventh prayer of St. Symeon the New Theologian: These things now do give me daring, These things give me wings, O Christ God; Trusting, then, in the abundance of Thy benefactions toward us, With rejoicing, yet with trembling, I partake now of the Fire.

Our sinfulness should keep us away from the Lord. Sinfulness separates us from our Lord. But He came incarnate bridging the uncreated with the created. That was nothing short of boldness, if not of love. Or perhaps boldness and love are the same thing. We are told to approach "with fear, with faith and with love." But as God was compassionate to come down from on high, to be incarnate for us, should we also not be bold to trust in that compassion, not at the expense of ignoring our sins or saying they don't exist?

So, let us be bold, let us be daring and, above all, let us approach with love.

No comments:

Post a Comment