You are Christ’s, and Christ is Yours

A Teaching on Holy Thursday, Partaking of Holy Communion


Teaching 1

Having given the Apostles His Body and Blood at the Mystical Supper, Our Savior and Lord appended no instruction to it. What was given was above the words of men, and the mystery spoke for itself. I believe that even now, those of us who have partaken of the Lord’s table not with our mouths alone have no need of instruction, for the Most Pure Body of the Lord teaches us, His Most Holy Blood itself speaks to us. What does the Body teach, and what does the Blood say? One thing: O Christian, remember the death of your Lord, Who was lifted up for you, and don’t betray Him with your life. Think and act as He thought and acted; in all things, seek the glory of the Heavenly Father; labor tirelessly for the good of others; fight against vice and wickedness; endure temptations and troubles courageously; be ready, out of love for truth and righteousness, to bear your cross, and if necessary—to go to the cross. This is the word of the Body and Blood of Christ! Because of the Mystical Supper, the path is straight to Gethsemane and Golgotha.

Thus, brethren, our Savior isn’t the only one born to bear witness unto the truth (Jn. 18:37), to ever do the will of the Heavenly Father, to live and die holy. We all come into the world for this truth. It’s not for Him alone to enter into glory via the path of suffering: Yea, and all that will live godly have and shall suffer persecution (2 Tim. 3:12). There will always be Judases who sell everything for silver; Caiaphases who reason that one man should die for the people (Jn. 11:50), those who think that by persecuting the innocent they doeth God service (Jn. 16:2); Pilates who dare to ask: What is truth? (Jn. 18:38), and those who wash their hands to present themselves innocent of the blood of the righteous; Herods who desire to see miracles and mock the wonderworkers; and the prince of darkness, who was at enmity with our Lord—oh, this murderer is always the same!—relentless in malice, inexhaustible in deceit, indefatigable in attacks. Therefore, a true follower of Jesus always can and always should participate in the sufferings of our Lord, to labor for the truth, to wage a battle against vice, to sacrifice himself to God and man.

And we are given strength for this great and unceasing labor in the Divine food of the Body and Blood of Christ. This is the essence of the New Testament, bequeathed to us by the death of our Redeemer. Sacrifice for sacrifice! Life for life! Blood for blood! We have tasted His Body—may our body also belong to Him, may it be a vessel of purity, a temple of the Holy Spirit. Having partaken of His Blood shed for us, let us not doubt, but rather stand for His name to the point of blood, for the good of mankind, for truth and faith. We have received Him entirely within ourselves and have become one with Him: “Let us commend ourselves and one another and all our lives unto Christ our God.” Whoever does this will know, not by hearing alone, that Christ is in Him and he is in Christ. He will always be at the Mystical Supper, and not only will he be sated with hidden manna (Rev. 2:17), but will also become a feeder of the souls of those who hunger. And whoever comes to the Lord’s table not having examined himself beforehand (cf. 1 Cor. 11:28), and departs from it not having considered what he has received and to what end, although he has communed of the Body and Blood of Christ a thousand times, even if he has tasted nothing but the Divine food, he shall not have Christ within himself. The Divine Body and Blood are enclosed in such a man as in a coffin: The life-bearing Body will one day arise, but the coffin will remain a coffin.


St. Innocent of Kherson
Translation by Jesse Dominick


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