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  • Writer's picturefrdavid7

Day 35 - Sunday


For two more days, we'll spend time with the life of St. Mary of Egypt, the one that's a part of the Great Compline service. "Remain, Abba, in the monastery. And even if you wish to depart, you will not be to do so. And at sunset of the holy day of the Last super, put some of the lifegiving Body and Blood of Christ into a holy vessel worthy to hold such Mysteries for me, and bring it. And wait for me on the banks of the Jordan adjoining the inhabited parts of the land, so that I can come and partake of the lifegiving Gifts. For, since the time I communicated in the temple of the Forerunner before crossing the Jordan even to this day I have not approached the Holy Mysteries. And I thirst for them with irrepressible love and longing. and therefore I ask and implore you to grant me my wish, bring me the lifegiving Mysteries at the very hour when Our Lord made His disciples partake of His Divine Supper. Tell John the Abbot of the monastery where you live. Look to yourself and to your brothers, for there is much that needs correction. Only do not say this now, but when God guides you. Pray for me!"

I love the line in this quotation, "I thirst for them with irrepressible love and longing." St. Mary the Egyptian had taken communion just before she crossed the Jordan River and started her life of heychastic stillness. At the time she spoke to Zosimas the monk, that had been forty seven years previous. This fact amazes me.

She was able to draw so close to God through prayer and contemplation, and yet was unable to partake of Holy Communion. I can't imagine that. It must have been like never in person. er pressible love and to giri out ingy partiy discribe the feeling of emptiness.

St. Mary made plans for Zosimas to bring her Holy Communion. She had been thinking about it for some time.

When I'm preparing catechumens to enter the Orthodox Church, one of the things we talk about is Holy Communion, and the miracle of our taking into our bodies the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. In almost all cases, they are amazed. One recently asked me how I can stand to take communion Sunday after Sunday, and even more when there are other liturgies. How can I function in daily life when that miracle occurs over and over again, even inside my body?

I loved his question because I never want to take Holy Communion casually. I told him that the Body and Blood fill me with life, give me strength, connect me to God.

When I walk out of the church having the Body and Blood become my body and blood, I re-enter the turmoil of daily life with renewed hope and faith.

I pray that the same is true for you, my beloved, as we come to the 35th day of the Great Fast, placing our feet in the marks make by the great saints of old, who kept this fast as we keep it, who communed with the Body and Blood as we commune, and who arrived at the resurrection prepared to celebrate the salvation given to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. May we experience even a small part of their grace, Amen.

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