Life is Eucharistic – Worship is the Practical Way of Living Life “at all times and in all places…”

Beautiful and precise writing is, for me, one of the signals that you and I are created in the image of God. As I have written recently, even though language falls short of fully expressing many things, it is, nonetheless, both essential for communication and an exercise in Divine/human union. Thus, the term “inspired” – in Spirited. The Divine Liturgy in many of its manifestations over the centuries has articulated the faith in ways that are both stunning and practical. The first Book of Common Prayer (1549) makes a statement that, while not new, is essential for all believers to remember and endeavour to live out in their everyday life. Here is the “Sursum Corda” from the BCP 1549:

Priest.The Lorde be with you.
Aunswere. And with thy spirite.
Priest. Lift up your heartes.
Aunswere. We lift them up unto the Lorde.
Priest. Let us geve thankes to our Lorde God.
Aunswere. It is mete and right so to do.
The Priest. It is very mete, righte, and our bounden dutie, that wee shoulde at all tymes, and in all places, geve thankes to thee, O Lorde holy father, almightie everlastyng God.

Note the underlined phrase. It states that every person participating in this Liturgy is to believe and be dedicated to the fact that ALL LIFE is Eucharistic. All humans are to live Eucharistically. What is done in the specific context of the Divine Liturgy is, in no way, essentially different from any other context. What is said and done here is to be said and done everywhere. The Church is a Eucharistic community not just inside the walls of the Church or just in the setting of the formal Holy Eucharist but in the marketplace, home, neighbourhood, school, and halls of government.

I offer, for your further rumination along these lines some Scriptures and a reflection by St. Dorotheus of Gaza (505-565?).

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Romans 12.1-2
[1] I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
[2] Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Romans 13.14
[14] But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Galatians 5.16-25
[16] But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.
[17] For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would.
[18] But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.
[19] Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,
[20] idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit,
[21] envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
[23] gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.
[24] And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
[25] If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.

FROM A COMMENTARY ON AN EASTER HYMN OF ST GREGORY NAZIANZEN BY ST. DOROTHEUS OF GAZA

The Apostle urges us to worship God in a way worthy of rational creatures, by offering him our bodies as a living sac­rifice that is holy and pleasing to him. How are we to offer our bodies to God as a living sacrifice? By no longer obeying the promptings of body and mind, but being guided by the Spirit, and not gratifying the desires of our fallen nature. For that is how we put to death what is earthly in us. Such a sacrifice is said to be living, holy, and pleasing to God.

But why is it called a living sacrifice? Because while an ani­mal victim is sacrificed and dies at the same time, Christians who offer themselves to God sacrifice themselves daily but remain alive. As David says: For your sake we are put to death all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.

‘Let us offer ourselves,’ says St Gregory; that is, let us sacrifice ourselves, let us die to ourselves all day long, like all the Saints, for the sake of Christ our God, for the sake of him who died for us.

But how did the Saints die to themselves? By not loving the world or anything in the world, as the Catholic Epistles say, but renouncing everything that panders to the appetites, or entices the eyes, and all pride in possessions, that is, pleasure-seeking, covet­ousness, and vainglory, and taking up the Cross to follow Christ, crucifying the world to themselves and themselves to the world. About this the Apostle says: Those who belong to Christ have crucified the body, with its passions and desires. That is how the Saints died to themselves.

But how did they offer themselves? By not living for themselves, but according to God’s commandments, giving up their own desires in order to obey God, and to love him and their neighbours. As St Peter said: We have given up everything to follow you.  What did he give up? He had no money or property, no silver or gold. All he had was his fishing net, and that was old, as St John Chrysostom remarked. But he gave up, as he said, all his own desires, all worldly attachments, so that it is clear that if he had possessed wealth and property he would have despised these as well. Then he took up his Cross and followed Christ, according to the words: It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. That is how the Saints offered themselves: dying, as we said, to all disordered inclinations and self-will, and living only for Christ and his commandments. St. Dorotheus of Gaza, Discourse 16,167-169 (SC 92:462-464); Word in Season III, 2nd ed.

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To live Eucharistically is to live. I believe it to be an unceasing state of adorational awareness toward which we journey and in which we participate on a daily basis via purification and illumination.

Fr. Thomas

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